Saturday, September 26, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

The Safest Countries in the World to Visit

When sensationalistic reporting over-exaggerates the smallest of worldwide crimes it paints a disturbing picture of travel being unsafe outside of the United States. But if the overall crime statistics of each particular country on earth were viewed individually, we would sadly discover it’s safer to wander through many of them than it is to travel the highways of America.

The Global Peace Index determines the safety of a country based on crime statistics, educational levels, wealth per capita, political unrest, and a series of other factors. Based on their findings, countries are listed in order of the safest to the most dangerous. We are all aware of certain countries we should not set foot in, such as those involved in a conflict, so let’s have a closer look at what the compiled data has revealed as the worlds safest destinations for travel.

1    Iceland

Iceland tops the Global Peace Index as the most peaceful country in the world. They are not strategically located and they never stick their noses in another countries business. As such, Iceland does not have a heavily armed military. In fact, they have no military at all. For the safety and welfare of their own citizens, Iceland has rescue teams for the sole purpose of saving lost or stranded wanderers from their immense wilderness.

Icelanders can’t even spell the word crime. Even misdemeanor offenses like purse-snatching or picking a wallet are unheard of. Many people don’t lock their doors at night. The homicide rate has never exceeded eight per 100,000. San Antonio, Texas stands at 151 per 100,000 and forget about Chicago.

Icelanders are family. They take great pride in their country. In 2013, in a rare act of violence, the police were forced to shoot a man to death. The entire country turned out to grieve the loss of one of their own who obviously went astray.
2    New Zealand

New Zealand has been referred to as the country with the most transparent and least corrupt government in the world. What has only proven as a benefit to its citizens, they are tough on crime and even tougher when doling out punishments. As a result, New Zealand’s crime rate is incredibly low.

New Zealanders are known for their good nature and their general sense of calm. They prefer their towns and neighborhoods to be quiet and free of crime. Though seldom called for, citizen arrests are fairly customary when and if needed.

New Zealand has it all. It’s enshrouded with majestic mountains, lush green wildflower-covered meadows, ominous glaciers, and pristine beaches. Its cities are diverse, rich in culture and the arts, and they boast every modern amenity known to humankind. The sidewalks are safe so it’s easy to relax knowing you’re chances of getting mugged are pretty close to being nil.
New Zealand
3    Portugal

Portugal, the oldest country in Europe, is also one of the safest in the world. They’ve had lots of time to figure things out. An interesting fact unknown to many is Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language on earth, shared by eight other countries.

Portugal’s murder rate is astonishingly low at 1.2 per 100,000, but this was not always the case. The late 1990’s and early 2000’s saw corruption and gang violence as Portugal became a refuge for a diverse influx of immigrants from all points on earth. Discontent among its citizens due to the increases in violence caused a change in government regime and new laws and policies were enacted. The organized crime which had moved in was given the boot, and as a result, Portugal is now the third safest country to visit.

Petty crimes such as pickpocketing are still committed in crowded tourists sites, restaurants, and on any form of public transportation so proper caution should be exercised, but violent crimes are a rarity even in major cities like Lisbon. In cities, cops walk a beat in their efforts at cutting down on any riff-raff that might blow into town.
4    Austria

Austria is sparsely populated in terms of its land mass and the government keeps a tight reign on crime. If someone acts up, they will be caught, and they will regret their foolish actions. But this a great for those citizens who have no desire to bother anyone, which is the greater majority.

Cities in Austria are extraordinarily clean, displaying the pride of the people who reside in them. Tourism pumps mega-bucks into the country’s economy so visitors are generally viewed with respect rather than as pesky unwanted invaders. This also means tourists are treated fairly and less apt to be taken advantage of or fall victim to foul play.

Because of Austria being so safe, many expats now call it home and have secured jobs within the tourism industry. There’s even a good chance a hotel desk clerk or even a tour guide could originally be from someone’s native land. Austria’s crime rate is almost tied with Portugal and the majority of petty crimes are committed by non-citizens.
5    Denmark

Not only has Denmark been ranked as the happiest country on earth, it also falls in at the fifth safest on the list. At one time plagued with terrorism and crime, they nicely cleaned up their act and have maintained their honored place in line since 2012.

Denmark’s government practices internationalization and promotes a diverse culture which makes it an ideal home for expats and the perfect destination for anyone desiring a carefree vacation without the worry of excessive or violent crime.

Denmark consists of over 400 islands, many of them offering complete serenity and a crime-free existence even with no visible law enforcement. The warmness of Denmark’s people more than makes up for its often frigid temperatures.
Need more ideas for a safe international vacation? The remaining top safest countries listed in the Global Peace Index include the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Australia, Bhutan, Norway, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore, Mauritius, Spain, and Romania. By the way, the United States is ranked 103 out of 164 countries listed on the index. Syria is the least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. But it’s doubtful you were entertaining the idea of visiting any of those war-torn countries anyway.

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