Indonesia, Germany, Kenya: How safe is your next destination?

2018-11-03 06:30 - Marisa Crous
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People crossing the famous Shibuya crossing in Tok

People crossing the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo at night.

Every year the Global Peace Index ranks every country in the world according to various safety criteria. In 2018 it looked at safety in terms of militarisation, society and security and domestic and international conflict.

Iceland came out on top as the safest country according to these criteria, with New Zealand falling second and Austria third. The rest of the list included Portugal, Denmark, Canada, Czech Republic, Singapore Japan and Ireland.

But it doesn't really give a traveller a complete idea of how the situation is on the ground. Can you walk there at night? Is terrorist attacks imminent? Can you take public transport late at night? Or during the day for that matter.

For example, it listed Turkey as a less peaceful destination but mainly for reasons pertaining to intensity of internal conflict and political terror, yet the average traveller feels more than safe walking around Istanbul at any time of day.

READ: One of Africa's safest capitals? Brazzaville, Congo on the rise 

The Economist publishes a Safe Cities Index annually, which measures safety in a way that impacts more on travellers,  based on digital, health, infrastructure, and personal security. 

These were some of the results, scores are out of 100: 

1 Tokyo 89.80
2 Singapore 89.64
3 Osaka 88.87
4 Toronto 87.36
5 Melbourne 87.30
6 Amsterdam 87.26
7 Sydney 86.74
8 Stockholm 86.72
9 Hong Kong 86.22
10 Zurich 85.20
11 Frankfurt 84.86
12 Madrid 83.88
13 Barcelona 83.71
14 Seoul 83.61
15 San Francisco 83.55
16 Wellington * 83.18
17 Brussels 83.01
18 Los Angeles 82.26
19 Chicago 82.21
20 London 82.1

Some of the lower scoring cities were...

41 Moscow 63.99
42 Jeddah * 62.80
43 Delhi 62.34
44 Lima 61.90
45 Mumbai 61.84
46 Bogota * 61.36
47 Riyadh 61.23
48 Casablanca * 61.20
49 Bangkok 60.05
50 Johannesburg 59.17
51 Cairo * 58.33
52 Tehran 56.49
53 Quito * 56.39
54 Caracas * 55.22
55 Manila * 54.86
56 Ho Chi Minh City 54.33
57 Jakarta 53.39
58 Dhaka * 47.37
59 Yangon * 46.47
60 Karachi * 38.77

So, maybe reconsider walking here alone here at night.  

READ: WATCH: The world's 10 most dangerous festivals

Always consult a travel advisory before leaving for your destination as the safety of the country or certain cities might have changed. According to Trip Savvy, travel advisories are ranked on a scale of 1 to 4.

Level 1: "exercise normal precautions" - e.g. don't leave your bag unattended, but the city is relatively safe to walk in, even at night. 

Level 2:  "exercise increased caution" - there are risks in certain areas, often opportunistic crime, so be sure to know which are the safe areas and which areas to avoid.

Level 3:  "reconsider travel" - only essential travel is recommended, so try to avoid if possible. 

Level 4:  "do not travel" - too dangerous to travel to at present time. 

Countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tunisia, Belgium, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe all made the Level 2 list, while countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia got a Level 3 warning.

Money Control says that Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world's least safe cities. Pick-pocketing is a big problem and muggings are common in the city, predominately committed by homeless children. Hence the level 3. 

And Venezuela's Level 3 is due to the many challenges faced by the country at the moment. Caracas has some of the highest crime rates on the continent and tourists are warned against street crimes like muggings, and even kidnappings. 

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