Sean Patterson: Jamaica Constabulary Force make statement
More holidays are booked in January than during any other month of the year, as research by travel agency Opodo shows, with flights tending to be at their cheapest. However, a number of crime-related incidents involving foreign tourists may well have rattled those planning a getaway in 2023. Although the vast majority of holiday destinations are incredibly safe, check Express.co.uk’s map below before making any bookings this year.
Sean Patterson, 33, from West London, was killed in Jamaica on January 2 – just days after arriving in the Caribbean to celebrate the New Year.
According to local police, he was found in a “pool of blood” and had gunshot wounds to his upper body and head outside a guest house in Bogue Hill. They have described the murder as a “contract killing” by “unknown assailants”.
Mr Patterson’s death provides a stark reminder early into 2023 of the dangers of travel to exotic locations that belie a crime rate higher than at home.
He also joins a slew of tragic incidents involving British tourists throughout 2022 – from the shooting of 37-year-old Ben Corser in Mexico last May, to the stabbing of 22-year-old Danny Castledine in Amsterdam in August.
Some of Brits’ favourite holiday spots have alarmingly high crime rates
Crime-related tragedies such as these may well make people think twice about where they would feel safe.
Each year, World Population Review calculates the crime rate of each country – the total number of reported crimes throughout the year divided by the total population. The result is then multiplied by 100,000 for ease of understanding.
Going forward into 2023, the data show Venezuela to have the highest crime rate of all, at 83.76 crimes per 100,000 population. Vital oil revenues dried up in the mid-2010s, plunging the country into a socio-economic crisis that has pushed more than seven million people to flee their homeland since 2015.
Rampant corruption and a broken judicial system under the rule of strongman Nicolas Maduro have been blamed for the exceptionally high instances of crime.
READ MORE: ‘Off the beaten track’ holiday destinations to visit in 2023
Venezuela was found to have the highest crime rate in the world
The Foreign Office claims that almost all states outside the capital of Caracas “are experiencing increased crime and instability, including prolonged power cuts as well as water and fuel shortages and a general lack of essential services.”
The US State Department’s most severe Level 4 travel advisory is in place for the country, advising against all travel.
Second on the list is Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, with a crime rate of 80.79. Criminal gangs – known as “raskols” – operate throughout the country, and as a result kidnappings, home invasions, car-jackings and armed robbery are routine.
The capital, Port Moresby, has one of the highest crime rates in the world according to the State Department. The country’s few educational and employment opportunities are thought to be the at the root of the cause.
“There is a high level of serious and violent crime. Law and order is poor or very poor in many parts of the country. Pay close attention to your personal security, particularly after dark,” the Foreign Office advises.
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The highest waterfall in the world is in Canaima National Park, Venezuela
South Africa was found to have the third-highest crime rate in the world, at 76.86 per 100,000 people. “Most violent crimes tend to occur in townships, isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations,” according to the Foreign Office.
“However, armed robberies, including one leading to the death of a tourist, have taken place on Table Mountain in Cape Town in recent years.” Just last month, Macedonian influencer Maja Janeska, 39, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in her upmarket home in Johannesburg.
With a crime rate of 76.31, Afghanistan is next on the list. In the aftermath of the 2021 Taliban takeover, few are likely to be tempted by the country as a travel destination. Assassinations, kidnapping and money laundering are rife.
Afghanistan was the source of 85 percent of the world’s opium in 2020, the trafficking of which unofficially constitutes an integral part of the country’s economy.
The coral reefs of Port Antonio, Jamaica, are a large tourism draw
Honduras came fifth, coming in at 74.54 crimes per capita. Weak law enforcement has made the country a major drug route from South America to the US, leading to one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Sixth was Trinidad and Tobago, with a rate of 71.63. Although incidents occur most often within local communities, the level of violent crime is increasing. However, the motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery.
Guyana has the eighth-highest crime rate worldwide of 68.74. Domestic violence is especially common in the country, while tourists are most often the victims of hotel break-ins, robberies, and assaults.
Completing the top ten most dangerous destinations are El Salvador (67.79) in eighth, Brazil (67.49) and Jamaica (67.42). Most visits to Jamaica are trouble-free according to the Foreign Office, but the story of Sean Patterson serves as a harrowing warning.