Chicago attorney Thomas Glasgow has put together a list of important information about some popular destinations and how to stay safe during your travels:
Kidnapping of U.S. citizens has become a huge problem in Mexico. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped across Mexico by drug cartels for ransom and many cases remain unresolved. If you see any suspicious activities, notify Mexican officials and the nearest American consulate or the Embassy as soon as possible. You should also stick to main roads and travel during daylight hours.
Resorts are generally fairly safe, but when venturing outside, regular harassment and theft can be expected to varying degrees. Ignore any name calling or verbal harassment and keep on driving, and don't walk or cycle outside the resorts. In Jamaica, if it is not locked-up, or nailed-down, it is liable to be stolen. You must always be on guard for this, and even if you are very careful it is likely thieves will get to you eventually.
As of 2002, Puerto Rico's murder rate was twice that of New York City. However, nearly all crime is concentrated in the big metropolitan cities of San Juan and Ponce, and the tourist areas of both cities are heavily patrolled by police and violent crime directed against tourists is very rare. Theft, especially of cars, is the bigger concern for tourists. Be sure to take care where you leave your car and don't leave valuables inside.
Muggings are fairly common here. Streets are largely unlit after dark, even in the captial of Santo Domingo, and are subject to routine power outages. Additionally, wild dogs are common throughout the country and although they largely ignore people, feeding these dogs may induce aggressive behavior. Dress casually and remove jewelry when away from tourist destinations. Stick to the common tourist destinations; the more expensive, luxury hotels and areas are very safe.
"When traveling anywhere, common sense is the bottom line," explains Glasgow. "Stay inside the tourist areas, provide your family or friends back home with your itinerary, avoid traveling alone and avoid wearing flashy jewelry."
About Thomas Glasgow
Before opening the Law Offices of Thomas Glasgow, Ltd. in Schaumburg, IL Thomas Glasgow was a Cook County State's Attorney who prosecuted cases including DUI (http://www.glasgowlaw.net/PracticeAreas/DUI-Defense.asp), multi-kilo felony narcotic cases and murder (http://www.glasgowlaw.net/PracticeAreas/Murder-Charges.asp). From 1994 until 1998, he worked in the Traffic Division, the Narcotics Division, the Juvenile Division, and the Felony Review Division. In each of these positions he tried both misdemeanor and felony bench and jury cases, supervised other attorneys, interviewed defendants and witnesses, and helped prepare criminal cases for trial. He is the author and instructor for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education course on aggravated or felony DUI for other attorneys, prosecutors, and judges. Now a criminal defense attorney, he has successfully defended clients in all types of criminal cases, including thousands of DUIs, as well as those clients facing murder charges, drug charges, felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic offenses. For more information, please visit www.glasgowlaw.net.