As a follow-up to my July 9 posting describing the assault and robbery of two Frenchmen, both 21, on Saturday, many foreign tourists seem undeterred by the increasing number of assaults, robberies and homicides. In the case this past weekend, both hitchhikers were robbed of everything but the clothes on their backs.
Last month, the Czech Ambassador to New Zealand warned against hitch-hiking after a tourist from the Republic was murdered. Dagmar Pytlickova, 31, is believed to have been hitch-hiking when picked up by Jason Frandi of Waimate, 50 kilometers south of Timaru. It is thought he then raped the victim and cut her throat before slashing his own wrist, resulting in his death.
COMMENT: Unfortunately, many of the owners of some 300 hostels throughout New Zealand have publicly said that hitchhiking is safe, despite the increasing number of foreign tourists being assaulted, robbed and even murdered. Clearly, they have a self-serving conflict-of-interest in making such statements.
As I have emphasized in my book, STAYING SAFE ABROAD: TRAVELING, WORKING AND LIVING IN A POST-9/11 WORLD, "there are NO safe countries anymore, particularly given the rising transnational recession and the fact that violent crime and sexual crimes are escalating on a global level."
Despite the fact that social scientists have repeatedly told us that young adults truly believe they are immortal, that could not be farther from the truth. The reality is that there is a direct correlation between poor or non-existent security awareness and the probability of becoming a crime victim.
Another unfounded assumption is that hitchhikers traveling in pairs reduces the risk of calamity. As the attack on the French tourists demonstrates, this is simply untrue.
As I have said in the past, the parents of young adults are urged to advise them to NOT engage in hitchhiking. It is a high-risk activity that is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette. The more one plays the "game," the greater the risk of irreversible results.