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Old 29-04-2013, 17:24   #1
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Personal Safety and Cruising

One would have to go through life with blinders on not to see the increasing number of crimes committed against cruising sailors in the last ten years. From thefts of dinghys, motors, and personal effects to serious crimes against the person: rape, murder, robbery and battery in areas where crime formerly didn't exist. I personally have never experienced crime while cruising the Bahamas and the Caribbean but have known those who were not as fortunate as myself. Noonsite is one of many excellent sites, as is CruisersForum, that details and exposes this sad state of affairs. The questions is: How much risk are you willing to take to pursue your dream with the potential of exposing yourself and your mate(s) to a potentially life altering experience of crime? Will this change your cruising destinations/plans for the future? Is the journey to these potential hotspots worth the risk?
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Old 29-04-2013, 17:59   #2
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

There is real or actual risk and then there is perceived risk. Perceived risk is distortion of the real risk usually caused by flow of information from the news media or social websites like CF. "It must be a really dangerous sport because all you hear on the news is someone getting killed."

Clearly, reports of crime and mayhem obtained from CF or Noonsite contribute little to figuring out what the actual risk to cruisers is. In determining actual risk you would want to know how many crimes/cruiser visit hours occur per year for example.

Many cruisers seem naive and trusting and as a consequence don't take simple countermeasures and end up in parts of a town or city where the real risk is high. Perhaps the crime rate against cruisers is changing because they have become more adventurous. Many want to think they are pushing the envelope really experiencing local culture.

Anyway, I think you are posing an extremely difficult question that unlikely to derive a satisfactory answer on CF.

BTW, it seems like Noonsite crime reports are not very current nor complete based on a couple incidents I have checked in the last year or so. I think one would get perceived risk from that website that would not be in the cruisers best interest.
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Old 29-04-2013, 18:25   #3
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

I doubt there are any good statistics on whether or not there are more crimes against cruisers today than 10, 20, or 30 years ago. What crimes do happen are much more widely reported and quickly due to the Internet and cable TV. I'm not convinced there are more crimes. Just like within the USA there has been a large and steady drop in violent crime, the same is the case for much of the world, despite what you read and watch on TV. Back in the 80s we had a couple of incidents of cruisers killed by drug smugglers in the Bahamas, and it wasn't unusual to see lines of machine gun bullets across the sides of abandoned buildings. Carlos Lehder had his own personal army guarding his compound and airstrip on Norman's Cay. One time I went into see why the Hole in the Wall Light was out, and it looked like it had been shot out by someone. When anchored in the Exumas you would get a low buzz once or twice a day by U.S. helicopters with someone on the door gun pointing out at you. When we were boarded off of North Carolina the C.G. came in with weapons drawn and pointed at us, while we were circled by another boat with a machine gun pointing at us. That was typical back then because they were encountering armed resistance catching fishing boats bringing stuff in at night.

In short, I don't believe it is worse today, you just hear about all the incidents.
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Old 29-04-2013, 18:38   #4
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Most people in North America think that violent crime is rising, whereas police statistics clearly show that it dropped quite dramatically in the last couple of decades. I would bet that it's the same with cruising security.
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:17   #5
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

I have a feeling more of the the less financially endowed have turned to crime, typical in a world wide recession. Many places have gotten less safe over the last 20 years, including Seattle. Just a lot of wierd stuff going on, is it world overcrowding? is it a couple of generations of people who dont value other peoples rights or lives? who knows.
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:27   #6
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Many places have gotten less safe over the last 20 years, including Seattle.
A quick one second look showed that crime in Seattle has tended downward very significantly since 1999 meaning it has become more safe.

Crime in Seattle, Washington (WA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:29   #7
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Had a lady friend come visit me in the Bahamas. Most dangerous part of the whole time was her drive to the Miami airport.
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:35   #8
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
A quick one second look showed that crime in Seattle has tended downward very significantly since 1999
Yeah, exactly what I'm talking about.
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:46   #9
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
A quick one second look showed that crime in Seattle has tended downward very significantly since 1999 meaning it has become more safe.

Crime in Seattle, Washington (WA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics
Yeah, hard to argue with stat's but, I can tell you after living there for 25 years (no longer) the streets do not "feel" safe like they did in the beginning. You used to be able to go to the seafair parade as a family thing, now, it feels like a "rave". Bands of young people running around doing menacing things... kinda like last May Day in Seattle. The Bums have become very aggressive (in general-not all) unlike their polite demeanor in the past. I'll go with my gut.

If you look a little further down that page of statistics, you'll find that Seattle in above (sometimes twice) the national average. Also, there is this statement, not sure what that means: "City-data.com crime index counts serious crimes and violent crime more heavily. It adjusts for the number of visitors and daily workers commuting into cities."



Read more: http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime...#ixzz2RuJfw2zD
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Old 29-04-2013, 19:46   #10
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

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Yeah, exactly what I'm talking about.
Wait a minute! Are you suggesting that media outlets may, accidentally and only on occasion, sensationalize the crime levels in an effort to increase ratings? I can not believe that news is ever sensationalized! Your claims are absolutely absurd.

There isn't any better source of the current state of crime in the Caribbean than a Pearson owner on the Great Lakes. Trust me I am one. I have also been one of the fortunate sailors who have not been one of the many victims of crime against cruisers in the Caribbean, however. Perhaps that is due to never sailing in the Caribbean or maybe I am just lucky that the Caribbean criminals haven't ventured to Holland, Michigan to make a victim out of me. Fingers crossed!
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Old 29-04-2013, 20:02   #11
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Is it the crime that's increasing or the reporting there of? What with 24 hr news that has to make a profit and everyone now has a camera in their cell phone, etc, etc.
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Old 29-04-2013, 20:07   #12
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, hard to argue with stat's but, I can tell you after living there for 25 years (no longer) the streets do not "feel" safe like they did in the beginning. You used to be able to go to the seafair parade as a family thing, now, it feels like a "rave". Bands of young people running around doing menacing things... kinda like last May Day in Seattle. The Bums have become very aggressive (in general-not all) unlike their polite demeanor in the past. I'll go with my gut.

If you look a little further down that page of statistics, you'll find that Seattle in above (sometimes twice) the national average. Also, there is this statement, not sure what that means: "City-data.com crime index counts serious crimes and violent crime more heavily. It adjusts for the number of visitors and daily workers commuting into cities."



Read more: Crime in Seattle, Washington (WA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics

Seattle is a large city, and when crime from large cities are averaged in with small towns, things like that will happen.

Just because it "feels" less safe doesn't mean it IS less safe. I could be that you just feel more vulnerable for some reason -- maybe the accumulated years of knowledge about what can go wrong.

I used to feel very safe on my boat and lived in an unsecured marina. Then I made a friend who ended up threatening me physically -- ironically, the day I moved to the marina I am in now, which is well secured from the street. Certain other things have happened that I could reasonably attribute to him, but he can't get through the gate. I told management what happened, and they changed the gate codes, so he no longer knows it.

After that experience, I would most certainly feel less safe in an unsecured marina, but it doesn't mean the world has gotten more dangerous. It does mean that danger crossed my bow and I'm more alert to it now.
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Old 30-04-2013, 01:43   #13
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

So, do you folks think I should now lock my dinghy? and put the companionway washboards back on?
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Old 30-04-2013, 03:21   #14
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Most Dangerous thing in New Zealand is the tax man!!!
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Old 30-04-2013, 03:51   #15
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Re: Personal Safety and Cruising

Beyond the hyperbole and the rhetoric is the man in the streets. Ask him the question, has crime increased or decreased and/or become more violent? Or is it simply because he feels one way or the other. To the one who has been mugged or who has been there long enough to witness a change, the answer is yes, crime has increased.

The truest answer lies in the realm of anecdote. One who doesn't know the history of a place has no reference, a datum. The other, who has seen the changes, has a different perspective.

Then, the question is reduced; Have there been noticeable changes in society, in the general behavior of individuals? For me, the answer is a demonstrable yes. Further, the changes have ill foreboding.
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