“Is it safe to go to…?”  Insert the country or city of your choice.  This is one of the most common questions I hear both professionally and personally and it’s worth delving into how to best address it.

Whenever I am asked this question I usually reply with a question or two of my own, because the answer really depends a lot upon context.   Things I would want to know or research and find out are:

  • What are the security concerns and threats at the location?
  • What types of crimes/violence occur there?
  • Who are the typical victims / what is the victim profile?

This information provides a background as to the type of potential threats that exist at that location.  That, in and of itself, is not usually enough to information to say whether or not travel is safe or not. Then only exception possibly is regarding the top 4 or 5 highest threat locations in the world – and even then there are places and activities that are safer than others.

The next element is the nature of your activities.  Some of the questions you want to ask yourself – or direct to the person asking you the question are:

  • Where specifically am I going?
  • What will I be doing?
  • Where will I be staying?
  • How will I move from point to point / what will I do for transportation?
  • Who will I be meeting?
  • What you are trying to really determine when you ask the question “is it safe to go to…?” is what is the personal risk that you face?

Risk is generally calculated as Threat + Vulnerability = Risk.  Vulnerability in this case refers to things that you will be doing, places you will be going, modes of transport and accommodation that may leave you exposed to local threat actors such as criminals or terrorists.  After gathering details about the location where you will be traveling (how to do that is another topic) you need to look at that against the context of what you will be doing specifically.  The nexus between these two things is where your risk lies and this will let you make a more accurate and informed assessment.

There are multiple examples that could be used to illustrate this but for the sake of brevity I will stop here.  If you have any questions, suggestions, experiences you would like to share or would like more details please let us know via the Contact Us feature at iprotectiveconcepts.com.  You might also like to download the free PDF guide: 8 Key Elements of Personal Security which is available here: http://iprotectiveconcepts.com/subscribe/

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