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Northwestern University

Crime Deterrence

While it’s common for travelers to focus their concerns on violent crime, kidnapping or terrorism, the most common crimes abroad are petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing and non-violent theft.

In a foreign culture, it is more challenging to read situations and to assess risks to your physical safety than it is at home.

Situational awareness 

Learn about the cultural and political environments of the countries you visit to reduce your risk of exposure to crime. 

Consider modifying daily activities that may put you at risk. 

Accept that you may be perceived as wealthy, even if you are not.

Recognize that certain types of clothing or accessories could increase your risk of crime.

Understand that traveling in countries where women are more modestly dressed for religious, cultural or societal reasons may require changing your own manner of dress.

Trust your instincts to help keep you safe.

When in a situation that feels dangerous, always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up. Your safety is more important that hurting someone’s feelings!

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