Avoid Bringing a Criminal Charge Home from Your Vacation
Tourism is rapidly rising in popularity. In 2018, there was a record 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO). Global tourism is skyrocketing, and bringing with it a plethora of opportunities for travelers. The benefits that tourism bring to the economy include boosting revenue, creating jobs, developing the local infrastructure, and instilling a sense of cultural unity between visitors and residents.
However, tourism also brings with it a bevy of other issues, including increased crime rates. This could be because tourism leads to a temporarily increased number of people in small areas. It also contributes to the introduction of outsiders into local communities, which is another contributing factor to crime. Tourists can become both victims and perpetrators of crimes in their destinations. Because such a wide variety of factors are correlated with crime, it can be difficult for researchers to determine causation.
However, much of the research that has been conducted shows a positive correlation between tourism and crime. One such study, conducted by the University of Sassari in Italy, showed that a 1% increase in the number of tourists leads to a .018% increase in total crime in Italy. Interestingly, this particular study indicates that the resident population has a greater effect on crime than the tourist population.
When you combine that information with the fact that many of the top tourist destinations in the world can be quite dangerous, you can conclude that tourists should take extra caution while exploring unfamiliar territory. This means taking caution to make sure you do not become a perpetrator or a victim of crime. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar location, even if it is in the U.S., here are some steps you can take to prevent getting involved in crime:
- Read about the cultural norms of the area.
Different areas have different social expectations and different laws. This is true even from state to state. For example, Massachusetts has some of the strictest alcohol laws in the country. The state has banned happy hours and even seemingly innocent drinking games like beer pong. Being unfamiliar with differences in laws like this could wind you up in some legal trouble if you are not careful.
- Avoid traveling with illegal substances.
This might seem like an obvious one, but if you haven’t been on a plane in a while, you might not be aware of the latest restrictions. This is another area it is important to be educated on before traveling. For example, federal law bans people from taking marijuana on flights, even if you are flying from one legal state to another. You might not think you are breaking the law if you are carrying a legal substance, but when it comes to flying, federal law states otherwise.
There are important restrictions to remember if you are driving as well. For example, the open container laws of most states prohibit drivers and passengers from drinking alcohol or having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. If you are driving, make sure there are no open containers in the car if you want to avoid legal trouble, and that includes the passengers!