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Old 21-04-2013, 16:36   #46
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Originally Posted by Madcatter View Post
The funny thing is how the misperceptions work both ways. I will never forget the first time I flew to Medellin to meet Serena's Family. All I knew about Colombia was what I had learned from the nightly news, and Miami Vice. She assured me it was safe (well in most areas) and I had a wonderful time. My daughters and I have since made it a point to visit there every year for the past three years in December. ( If you ever get the chance go and see the Christmas Lights stunning) Yes there are still places in Colombia I would not go, but I would have never went there had I not kept an open mind about visiting. Our perceptions tend to be molded by the media and it is the same for people from other countries about us. The only way to truly learn is to go and visit, live and learn. But it is very amusing to have a kid ask if everyone lives in big mansions and drive very expensive cars.

There are places in the United States you shouldn't go, too ...
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Old 21-04-2013, 16:38   #47
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Must admit could be the case in Miami. recall when I flew into USA from Columbia, South America it was very much Spanish spoken at airport with all announcements in Spanish.
Similar in Houston now. Years ago I recall bilingual billboards, but was there a couple of years ago and noticed many Spanish only billboards.

Of course here in Panama I see lots of English only billboards and ads.
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Old 23-04-2013, 04:52   #48
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Re: Is It Safe?

I have spent the last number of months in the Tampa Bay area. I had been warned about what a horrible place this is. I have found the exact opposite. In fact twice I stupidly left my tablet computer in a shopping cart at the local Walmart. Both times it was returned to the information desk and I recovered it. After being here for four months it was only yesterday after coming back from looking at the boat I am considering buying, that I actually drove through an area where I felt uncomfortable in and would not have walked in a day or night. Perceptions are perceptions but not always based on reality.
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Old 23-04-2013, 05:32   #49
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Re: Is It Safe?

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True, but Im curious about foreign perception of the USA.
Having seen a fair bit of the country a few off the cuff impressions...

It's very big

Inner cities as dangerous as you will find anywhere, give me slums in Delhi or Cairo any day. Too many guns everywhere.

Otherwise generally very safe, street food boring compared to southern europe or asia. But better than northern europe.

Some incredible scenery.

Quite astounding how many people have no idea what the rest of the world is really like. Or even where it is is some cases Again, many of the locals in a slum in Cairo or Delhi or Katmandu have a more balanced view of world politics than many folks in the States.

Seems like so many learn about how to act in society from the Cosby show or Seinfield. Even expressing emotions seems to have to adhere to some sort of universal televised "this is how you do it"

Enough to be getting on with?
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Old 23-04-2013, 05:35   #50
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Re: Is It Safe?

The reality is that most places are safe most of the time. Most people do not want to do others harm, otherwise society would be impossible (in a few places, it is impossible). Violent acts are rarely random, and most are perpetrated by people who are known to each other. Some places are riskier than others, but in general, people are not out to get you.

Property crimes are wider spread, but it's possible to mitigate your risk and exposure through awareness and basic precautions.

Fear is the real threat. Fear is actively promoted in North American society by those who benefit (media, politicians, law enforcement, security industry, insurance industry, etc.). "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total oblivion." [Peter Puppy, or if you insist, Frank Herbert].
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Old 23-04-2013, 05:54   #51
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Re: Is It Safe?

Que? Alaska is very dangerous, we have 39 F sea water, I have a black and grizzly bear that live in my back yard and occasionally lean on the sliding glass door, when not eating the burnt meat loaf off of the outside freezer, then let's not forget the odd moose that wanders into the yard for a piece of buttered toast. Oh and the attack bunnies that come up on the back deck for bits of stale cereal. Shrews, Voles and Mice oh my!
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:03   #52
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...In general, I'd feel safest CT and up.
If you feel safe in CT you haven't been to Bridgeport, or some parts of New Haven. I don't think its safe until you get to the marina in Westbrook and stop for a lobster roll.
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:17   #53
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Having sailed the East Coast of US a few times, my perceptions were the following:
New England - very safe ...
Boston?
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:18   #54
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A previous post mentioned acts of random violence. Although the average cruiser is highly unlikely to be effected by these acts, horrific acts of random violence (such as school massacres) are almost exclusively an American thing and certainly effect foreign perception of the USA.

There is something unique in USA culture which gives rise to these events, but not sure anyone really has a handle on the details.

Guatemala by contrast is bristling w guns. They are everywhere everyday, but no such events here. Plenty of violence yes, but like the drug related conficts in Mexico it has a clear reason and purpose.
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:21   #55
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Guatemala by contrast is bristling w guns. They are everywhere everyday, but no such events here. Plenty of violence yes, but like the drug related conficts in Mexico it has a clear reason and purpose.
Not so sure about that. I don't recall ever reading about a boat being boarded and its crew assaulted within the USA, but I have read of several instances of that in the Rio Dulce. Just after I left there the armed guard at Marios Marina was shot and killed. In New England we leave our boat all day unlocked with the hatches open, never lock our dinghy at a dinghy dock--in fact, most people leave their dinghies unlocked all summer long, with the motor on and the gas tank in them. Would you do that with your boat anchored in the Rio?

Almost anywhere can be safe enough if you go there with the right attitude, do your homework first, and pay attention. And, many very safe places can be less so if you don't do those things. Plus, many people feel unsafe when they are in unfamiliar places that aren't like places they know "back home." I always remember what one cruiser said when we were talking about Colon, Panama, often rated as one of the most dangerous places in the Americas: "I grew up in Patterson, New Jersey--after that, everywhere seems safe."
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:26   #56
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Boston?
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
The recent senseless events aside, Boston is a great place. I think that is one reason the bombing had a big psychic impact...it was just not expected in somewhere like Boston.

Like any big city though, Boston has places you dont want to be.
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:32   #57
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Re: Is It Safe?

I have biases regarding this. I grew up in the US (born in europe), but have lived outside the US since 1984. Part of the problem is the media's need for new stories. CNN and the like need stories to feed their viewers 24/7. When I grew up in the US, random shootings were extremely rare. Certainly the school shootings etc just didn't happen. Today, these things are on the air as they are happening. I wonder if sometimes these things did happen back then but we just didn't hear about them?

This kind of violence is not as rampant in europe as in the US. And we have to compare all of europe to the US in order to get comparable populations/geographic areas.

I'm not sure why these incidents occur more frequently in the US than other western societies. Without starting a gun thread, some of it is due to the availability of guns, but not all of it.

Is the US safe? sure it is. With certain allowable exceptions and assuming you don't make an ass out of yourself (Die Hard movie with Bruce Willis wearing a sign in Harlem "I hate niggers"). Less provocative statements can also land you in deep doo-doo in certain places.

Generally I like the states, and visit fairly often. I am a bit astonished by how fat the general population is getting, but that is another story.

For those who have never visited, small town america is great. People are very helpful and they truly mean it. A smile goes a long way here

Americans seem to have time to be helpful - something we sometimes lack or are unwilling to take here in europe.

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Old 23-04-2013, 06:44   #58
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Re: Is It Safe?

Murder rate and general crime rate in the USA has been declining a lot in recent decades. To get an idea of how various areas and countries compare, take a look at the statistics. USA is middle of the pack on homicide rates, and very few of those are random acts of violence, even though those are the ones that make the news.
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Old 23-04-2013, 06:46   #59
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Not so sure about that. I don't recall ever reading about a boat being boarded and its crew assaulted within the USA, but I have read of several instances of that in the Rio Dulce. Just after I left there the armed guard at Marios Marina was shot and killed. In New England we leave our boat all day unlocked with the hatches open, never lock our dinghy at a dinghy dock--in fact, most people leave their dinghies unlocked all summer long, with the motor on and the gas tank in them. Would you do that with your boat anchored in the Rio?

Almost anywhere can be safe enough if you go there with the right attitude, do your homework first, and pay attention. And, many very safe places can be less so if you don't do those things. Plus, many people feel unsafe when they are in unfamiliar places that aren't like places they know "back home." I always remember what one cruiser said when we were talking about Colon, Panama, often rated as one of the most dangerous places in the Americas: "I grew up in Patterson, New Jersey--after that, everywhere seems safe."
Yes, there is no shortage of violence in Guatemala and sometimes it effects cruisers, but what I was referring too was these almost incomprhensible acts of mass violence (like school masacres) that have no purpose other than being the manifestation of someones insanity.

You dont see that type of violence here in Guate. If you get killed here there was a purpose or reason not based on insanity. Not that it is much of a consolation prize, but it is an interesting cultural difference.

As you say almost anywhere can be safe or not depending upon your attitude and situational awareness. Case in point: only place I have ever been robbed at gun point was in an upscale neighborhood in the USA. It happened because I was not paying attention due to the venue. If I had been in a bad barrio here in Guate, or Jersey, I would have been paying attention and seen it coming.
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Old 23-04-2013, 08:22   #60
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Re: Is It Safe?

I once heard that the overall murder rate in the USA was down, but that the reporting on said crimes was much higher than in the past. We have had mentally ill people lose control in small villages in Alaska, and the individuals gunned down a good percentage of the population, yet it never makes the news in the lower 48. I would guess much of the violence in the USA is a matter of perception. I've been around, and in almost every city in the world that I have been, there are places you don't go after dark, sometimes even in the daytime. Bottom line, if you don't pay attention; anywhere can be a dangerous place.
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