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The United States of America is not the first destination that comes to mind when you think about security issues affecting tourists.
Like much of the Western world, it has historically been considered a safe destination, while countries like Mexico and its Latin American partners have been under scrutiny for years about isolated incidents that rarely involve visitors.
Interestingly, a new travel advisory update issued by Canada, America’s closest neighbor and sister nation, appears to be calling into question that undisputed status, as urban safety in the states becomes more compromised:
Canada urges citizens to be careful about mass shootings
As is customary, Canada has updated their travel advisory listings, which the government maintains to keep track of developments in foreign countries that may be relevant to Canadians flying abroad.
This time, however, an additional note about the United States has come to our attention, in addition to the usual warnings against travel to certain Eastern European countries in the context of the Russo-Ukrainian War and gang activity in the region. from the Caribbean:
In the update, Canada explicitly mentions random shootings in the United States, due to a ‘high’ rate of firearms ownership which is unusual between countries. As Ottawa points out, ‘it is legal in many states for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public‘.
The controversial history of gun violence in the United States is well documented, with numerous reports of school shootings dating back to the 18th century and many other attacks carried out by armed citizens in public spaces where gun laws are less rigid. .
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According to the Canadian government, although tourists « rarely participate, » there is still a risk that they could find themselves « in the wrong place at the wrong time ».
This means that they must remain vigilant and become familiar with how to remain safe in these situations.
Does the United States have a gun problem?
In 2023 alone, there has been over 200 mass shootings in the United States, as confirmed by the non-profit organization gun violence file. These figures include both shootings that take place outdoors and indoors, as well as incidents in which ‘four or more’ people are injured or fatally injured.
Since 2020, there have been more than 600 shootings on US soil, close to two a day.
Looking at it this way, it’s easy to see why foreign governments, particularly Canada, which shares a long border with the United States, would raise a red flag.
The warning is not unwarranted, too: like the graphics represented by the BBC show, gun-related deaths in the States are disproportionately high compared to their western counterparts.
In England and Wales, they account for around 4% of all homicides. In Australia, 11%. Canada’s significantly higher gun violence accounts for 40% of deaths, but the United States amazing 80.5% it clearly makes him the odd one out.
Gun ownership in the US has been a contentious and politicized issue for years, but when assessing this data, it’s hard to miss the fact that gun violence appears to be more common in the US than anywhere else. .
Is it dangerous to visit the US?
This does not mean that the United States is a dangerous destination..
In fact, Canada still considers it a low-risk country, where ‘normal safety precautions‘ must be taken.
Yes, mass shootings. do They do occur and are likely to remain a security concern in the long run, but they are not the main concern of a tourist visiting the States, as they tend to be sporadic events, although increasingly common.
Instead, Canadian visitors are urged to watch out for crime in large urban centers, particularly in cities like St. Louis, named the most dangerous in the United States, where petty crimes proliferate and gang violence is widespread.
That being said, violent crime rates affecting tourists remain relatively low throughout the States, despite higher incidences in certain cities, such as San Francisco, the last tourist destination affected by a crime wave.
When visiting, apart from reading the Active Shooter Event Quick Reference GuideCanadians must be ‘aware of their surroundings’ and check crime statistics before visiting select neighborhoods.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com