Saturday, 18 January 2020

What do Caracas, Port Moresby and Pietermariztburg have in common?

Caracas in Venezuela (below) is the most dangerous city in the world, Numbeo's latest international crime index reveals. 


Numbeo is the world's largest database of user contributed data but I call complete bullshit on its figures. 

Analysis of the Numbeo figures shows the Venezuelan capital has a crime level of 84.92, while Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea has one of 83.22. Next comes Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.

Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg, all in South Africa, rounded out the fourth, fifth and sixth places on the list followed by San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Rio de Janeiro,  Recife and Salvador in Brazil. 

Cities with crime levels lower than 20 are considered to have very low crime. Between 20 and 40 is low, between 40 and 60 is moderate, between 60 and 80 is high, and higher than 80 is considered very high.
Three US cities (Memphis, Baltimore and Detroit) made the top 20, with Port of Spain in Trinidad, where I have happily strolled the streets solo, comes in at No.14.

Australia’s most dangerous city is apparently Darwin (55.30), sitting way down the index at 86. Canberra (19.32) is listed as Australia’s safest city on the 375-city list. 

Why is it, then that I feel far safer wandering around beachfront Durban than I do in San Francisco, and certainly a lot safer in Pietermaritzburg than in Naples? 

The fact is there are lies, damn lies and statistics and these figures simply do not reflect crime reality. 

The vast majority of all crime in South Africa, for instance is black-on-black violence in remote ghettos, or townships. Few, if any tourists are likely to enter Gugulethu, or Kwa Mashu. 

In Pietermaritzburg (above), a city of fewer than a quarter of a million people, the crime hotspots are Imbali, Edendale, Dambuza and Plessislaer - all outlying townships with gang issues, political violence and vicious taxi company rivalries. 

Tourists will not be visiting shanty towns or open-air garbage dumps populated by dump divers.   
 
The same story in Brazil. Much of the crime happens in favelas, hillside shanty townships in which rival gangs wreak violence on each other and into which no sane visitor would set foot. 

Caracas is not not on my list of cities to visit, so I cannot verify what happens there, but WorldNomads says violent crime is rife and foreigners are prime targets. 

Violent crime, including armed robbery, carjacking, home invasions and sexual assault is common, too, in Port Moresby, but that city is hardly a vacation hotspot.  

Perhaps avoid Caracas and Port Moresby - but I would not not allow statistics to scare me away from holiday destinations in South Africa or Brazil. 

   

 

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