Wednesday, March 13, 2013

France: Much of What China Daily's Li Xiang Says About Paris is Valid

COMMENT: I would like to take this opportunity of complimenting  THE CHINA DAILY's Paris correspondent, Li Xiang, for her astute and candid characterization of criminal victimization in Paris, which is often considered by many tourists as low-risk, which it is not.

Although I have personally been helping tourists and business traveler travel safely abroad for the better part of 30 years, first as a US Embassy Regional Security Officer (RSO) and later as a global security consultant, all of our readers must realize that both property crime and violent crime have been increasing throughout Europe since 2008.

Forecast-wise, it is projected that Chinese in the years ahead will be among the most numerous traveling nationality.

Many of the statements Ms. Li makes in her excellent piece, "Safety Concerns Keep Paris Tourists Away," are completely valid. See link below.

For the benefit of our readers, below is just a small list of travelers' do's and don'ts when it comes to avoiding becoming a crime victim in Paris:

1. Avoid wearing expensive or expensive-looking watches, jewelry or accessories;

2. Carry little cash except for what is absolutely necessary;

3. Avoid using street-level ATMs to withdraw cash from;

4. Make cash withdrawals from ATMs only during daylight hours;

5. Know in advance whether credit card issuers will charge a % for their use; 

6. Don't hail taxis in the street. It is far more prudent to ask a hotel concierge the names of reputable taxi services that you can call up and order in advance;

7.  Don't get into a taxi if there occupants other than the driver;

8. If a resident, select a flat or apartment that is above the ground floor with effective access control and door security (including an optical viewer);

9. Avoid walking alone at night, particularly late in the evening, when criminals are most likely to gather; and

10. Don't assume that everyone you encounter in the street is "nice." They are not.