Five Destinations That Call for Caution


Staying safe while traveling is a topic which continues to be relevant as terrorist attacks are no longer a surprise and mass shootings seem to be increasingly common. Is almost every destination in the world a potential danger?

In fact, according to the latest Safe Cities Index, some places pose considerably more risk than others. The report was released late last year by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, a London-based company that specializes in international business.

The index ranked the safety of 60 international cities across four categories, including personal security, which scored each city on factors such as the number of terrorist attacks, crime rates, threat of military conflict and threat of civil unrest.

The Safe Cities Index was first published in 2015, and the not-so-good news in the second version released in 2017 is that levels of personal security appear to have declined in the past two years, said Christopher Clague, a managing editor at The Economist Intelligence Unit and the creator of the index.

Below, according to the Safe Cities Index, are the five most dangerous destinations in the world right now.

Karachi, Pakistan The port city of Karachi has ongoing security issues, including ethnic, political and sectarian violence, a high crime rate and terrorism, said Matthew Bradley, the regional director of security for International SOS, a travel risk management company. “Karachi is not a city where you should go unless you absolutely have to,” he said.

Greg Boles, an associate managing director for Kroll, a security consulting company, said that Karachi is subject to a high number of terrorist attacks from both foreign and indigenous terrorist groups, including the Pakistani Taliban.

“U. S. citizens are a target in Karachi and can get kidnapped for ransom,” he said.

Mr. Boles also said that because Pakistan borders Afghanistan, the Taliban and its well-established networks can transport United States citizens from Pakistan to that country.

Caracas, Venezuela Venezuela’s capital is unsafe when it comes to personal security, Mr. Bradley said, because of the prevalence of violent crime and frequency of sexual assaults on women. “Crime is endemic, and opportunistic street crime and more serious offenses such as kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery have become increasingly common,” he said.

Mr. Boles, who has previously worked in Caracas, said that the city has a food and medicine shortage, which causes social unrest and protests. “The general population doesn’t have access to basic necessities and can act out in frustration,” he said. “If you’re visiting, you can easily become a part of the mess and may be detained without access to clean water or food.”

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam It may seem surprising to see this French colonial metropolis, formerly known as Saigon and popular with tourists, ranked among the top five dangerous destinations, but Mr. Boles said that crime is an issue there, including violent, organized and petty offenses. Ho Chi Minh City’s dense population makes active policing a challenge, and because bicycles and scooters are a common mode of transportation, perpetrators can quickly flee.

Mr. Bradley said that visitors, particularly when in tourist areas such as those around Pham Ngu Lao and Dong Khoi, shouldn’t display any valuable items like jewelry or cellphones, or walk alone after dark. Additionally, they should be aware that drinks and food may be drugged.

Yangon, Myanmar The tension between Myanmar’s Muslim and Buddhist communities makes Yangon an unsafe place to be, said Mr. Boles. “The fighting between the two ethnic groups can be violent and unpredictable,” he said. “From a tourist perspective, it’s an unstable city because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, has been subject to serious human rights abuses, including murder and rape, according to international human right groups like Amnesty International.

Quito, Ecuador Yes, it’s a tourist destination, but crime, including pickpocketing, robbery and thefts in hotel rooms, is a significant concern, according to both Mr. Bradley and Mr. Boles. Mr. Boles said that tourists have been robbed when they’re out and about in the city while Mr. Bradley said that Quito has a problem with what are known as “express” kidnappings. “Travelers perceived to be wealthy have been seized and forced to withdraw large sums of money from their A.T.M. accounts,” he said. “While most express kidnappings end in the release of the abductee, in some cases, they have resulted in the death of the targeted individual.”

The State Department’s site says that “crime is a widespread problem in Ecuador” and also warns of express kidnappings.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: Five Destinations Where Caution Is Advised. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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