State Department warns of violence in Italy, France and elsewhere
U.S. citizens planning to go on international travel may want to take the time to check online as the State Department has released new travel warnings for Italy, France, Belize and other countries on Tuesday.
A total of 81 new travel warnings have been issued, including four “Level 4” travel warnings for Russia, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso and Belarus. This level of advice warns Americans “not to travel” to these places due to a “greater likelihood of life-threatening hazards”.
There have been 10 new ‘level 3’ travel advisories for people to ‘reconsider travel’ due to ‘safety and security risks’. These countries include El Salvador, the Cayman Islands and Colombia.
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State Department recommends ‘extra caution’
Twenty-five countries have also been issued a “Level 2” travel advisory urging travelers to “use extra caution” and “be aware of increased safety and security risks”.
► Italy Travel Warning
Among them was Italy, which has experienced “increased caution due to terrorism”. The State Department said terrorists could attack large-scale public events like sporting events, clubs, public transportation systems and other public spaces. The agency also said the perpetrators of the attacks are using “less sophisticated methods” such as knives, firearms and vehicles to injure crowds.
There is also a “moderate crime rate” in Italy for US citizens, especially for theft and economic crimes, not so much for violent crimes. These types of offenses include not validating subway tickets properly and imposing a fine or purchasing counterfeit products.
People traveling to Italy should be aware of their surroundings when in public or crowded places and monitor local media for significant events.
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► France Travel Warning
France was another country that had received a “level 2” travel advisory due to terrorism and civil unrest. The State Department warns that, as in Italy, terrorist attacks can occur with little or no warning in popular tourist spots. French police and military patrol public spaces, so US citizens should be prepared to submit to security inspections in public places and other businesses.
Thousands of people recently took to the streets of Paris to demonstration Iranian leaders after the death of Mahsa Aminia 22-year-old Iranian woman who died while in Iranian morality police custody for failing to wear her hijab properly on September 16. Police responded to protests with water cannons, rubber balls and tear gas.
With those protests only expected to continue for the next few weeks, the State Department is warning people to avoid traveling to Paris and other major French cities.
► Belize Travel Warning
Belize also received a “Level 2” travel advisory from the agency due to increased crime, such as armed robbery and sexual assault, particularly in southern Belize City and other remote areas along the country’s borders. These crimes are mostly gang-related and even take place during daylight hours and in popular tourist areas.
“Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” the agency wrote. “Most crimes remain unsolved and unprosecuted.”
Tourists are often the target of criminals in resorts and roads, and crimes can range from the most violent to pickpocketing or extortion.
San Pedro is one of the areas believed to have a credit card fraud ring, so tourists should watch out for cash and credit card theft during their stay.
Victims of crimes abroad should report what happened to the local police and then contact the US Embassy who can assist local authorities. As a reminder, the U.S. Embassy is not a law enforcement agency.