1. South Africa
Hi-jacking hot spot
South Africa, hosting the soccer World Cup and brimful of tourists, must seem like heaven to criminals. This country has been described as the ‘rape capital of the world’, with 118.3 rapes per 100,000 people. Not only is the high incidence of rape bad news for visitors, but there’s also an incredibly high murder rate. This country consistently has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. While most crime occurs in poor areas, gated communities have been appearing all over the country, and armed guards regularly protect the wealthier tourist groups. Farming here has become one of the most dangerous jobs on earth, as murder rates for farmers are about 8 times higher than the national average. With over 10 million people infected with HIV, safe sex is also a good idea. A beautiful place to visit, but be on your guard.
Favela no Rio de Janeiro
If you travel to Brazil you are likely to get mugged, because anyone who looks like a tourist is a target. Desperate poverty lies alongside great wealth in this country. Economic growth has widened the gap between rich and poor and made crime rates soar. Street crime is rampant in parts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, and it is common for tourists to have their lives threatened for their valuables.
‘Quicknappings’ which involve being abducted and taken to an ATM to pay your own ransom are also becoming more common. Mobile phone technology means that your family is only one call away from extortion if you are unable to pay up. Street crime and organized criminal gangs have waged war against officials who refuse to be bribed. Drugs and related crime also claim civilian lives. The carnival in Rio is still a really exciting event for any tourist – but just be extra careful if you do go!
Colombia is a truly lawless state, and the world capital for kidnappings. There were 2,338 in 1998. Of these 138 were killed by their kidnappers. Fourth in the world for murder rates with 69.98 per 100,000 people in 2006, many of those killed were local mayors, dozens being killed every year. And of course, Colombia supplies 75% of the worlds supply of cocaine. Paramilitary groups wage continuous war on the government. Even charity workers are not safe from attack. In 2005, 5 Catholic missionaries were murdered, nine in 1999. Colombia should be a tourist paradise, but is instead among the most lawless and feared places to visit on earth.