"Are Tourists safer visiting
Honduras than they are living in the USA?"
Just how unsafe is Honduras for Americans
Living here in Honduras all we all hear about how
dangerous it is to live in a county with the highest murder rate in the world, but the real question is, dangerous
If you are like me you have read what the US State Department reports on its travel warnings on the internet at
(http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5816.html). Everything the State Department says in it travel warnings concerning Honduras in terms
of factual numbers, is not being disputed, but one must look deeper into the numbers to understand the statistics.
Working with an NGO here in Honduras that depends heavily on foreign tourists to staff our humanitarian efforts
here in Honduras we are finding that everyone is very concerned about the dangers of visiting "Honduras officially
the most dangerous county in the world" with the highest murder rate internationally at 92 murders per 100,000
people in the population. The USA on the other hand, only shows a rate of 6 out of every 100,000 Americans murdered
every year, so it is safe to assume that an American could be in a lot of danger in Honduras? Let's look a little
closer at the numbers.
Criminals, Elephants and rabbits,
in coyote country.
Criminals are predatory in how they select their victims. For example in nature, in areas with a population of
predatory coyotes, the natural food chain prevails. Natural food for a coyote is rabbits, they are easy to catch
and there is a plentiful supply, plus they don't fight back, but any Coyote can tell you that an elephant takes
a lot more effort to catch and they are dangerous and way too tough to eat. If you are an elephant in coyote country
you have little to fear.
In the criminal food chain of Honduras, tourists
like elephants are not really on the menu for most criminals, they are in fact more trouble than they are worth.
First, foreign nationals can cause a lot of problems for criminals. Unlike Hondurans, visting tourists cannot be
attacked or killed with impunity without bringing a lot of unwanted attention to the crime, which puts the criminal
at risk, and most importantly they (the tourists) are not afraid to call the police, or run to their Embassy and
report the crime. Again that brings down more heat on the criminals as well, as well as the host counrty. In fact
according to the US State Department, since 2009, only twenty four Americans have been murdered in Honduras. This
being 2013, that works out to only 8 Americans per year. Now lets look deeper into the numbers and listen to what
the US State Department has to say:
do not appear to be targeted based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations generally have lower
levels of crime and violence than other areas of the country. Moreover, tourists traveling with group tours rarely
report criminal incidents. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Honduras each year for study, tourism,
business, and volunteer work."
Hondurans, not tourists, are at the
greatest risk of being murdered in Honduras.
The greatest dangers are in the big cities, and have a lot to do with gangs and turf wars. On top of that, you
plug in the drugs, drug dealers, gangs, slimy corrupt public officials, and the people who regularly deal with
them, and you will find the true source of a lot of bad press for Honduras. In the USA the murder rate is 6 people
in 100,000 in Honduras that number is 92. So logically it would be safe to assume that an American tourist would
be a lot more unsafe in Honduras than in the USA. However that is really not the case.
The proof is in the numbers.
In New York City the numbers of murders change per 100,000 when compared to a small town in the Midwest. The bigger
the city, the higher the murder rate on so many different demographic levels. In Honduras where ever you find gangs
and organized crime you will see that a large percentage is based on the demographics, of the people who live and
die by the sword, than those that do not.
OK here is a scenario for you. You have a college age child who wants to visit Honduras with a tour group. When
you hear these numbers you ask yourself, how many visiting college students are attacked or killed in Honduras
every year? First you go to a source you can trust. Again you go the US State Department travel advisory for Honduras
and they report another important nugget of information, and that is, as of March, 2013 only 24 Americans have
been murdered in Honduras in the last three years. That works out to 8 Americans per year. Now here is where the
numbers get interesting.
When you Google; "How many tourists visit Honduras every year? The Lonely planet one of the most knowledgeable
tourist guides in the world responds with this:
Jan 21, 2013 - ... in Honduras. Find popular places to visit in Honduras - Lonely Planet. ...
of tourists visiting Honduras each year. 1 million".
If you do the math now based on one million tourists visiting Honduras every year, and compare that to the number
of deaths per 100,000 you get the murder rate for tourists in Honduras as only one murder in every 125,000 visitors. Remember that in the USA it is 6 murders per 100,000. These numbers mean that your chances
of being murdered in Honduras are only one sixth of your chances of being murdered in the USA.
What does all this mean?
It means that if you are tourist
on vacation in Honduras your chances of being murdered are less likely in Honduras than in the USA.
From those numbers you could deduce that a foreign college student in Honduras on a volunteer mission is much safer,
than the average tourist in their own home country.
The bottom line is that it all depends on who you are, and what your business is in Honduras. If you are a gang
banging, wacked out drug dealer living in "Barrio Kennedy" in the center of Tegucigalpa (the capital
of Honduras) then your odds of being killed could be as high as 2,000 in 100,000 thousand, but if you are a college
student from the states your odds are only about 1 in 125,000 of being murdered anywhere in Honduras which is a
lot better odds than in the USA.
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