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Travel insurer warns Aussie agents about US crime risks

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A leading travel insurance provider for travel agents, SureSave, has warned agents of the risks their clients face in bad parts of town when travelling in the US.

Michael McAuliffe, Executive Director at SureSave, says preparation and knowledge are essential to ensuring safety, even when visiting a city without a reputation for crime. Avoiding getting drunk is also a smart idea, he adds.

“Although we all know that America has a reputation for its high crime rates, most crimes occur in areas which the average tourist wouldn’t visit, simply because there is nothing to see and do there. But even when visiting top tourist destinations, a simple wrong turn can still land you in hot water if you are not aware.”

McAullife says areas that are family-friendly by day can quickly become dangerous by night and pose risks for tourists.

“The general rule in any major US city is to know where you are going before you set out for the day. Don’t ‘wing it’ and risk getting lost in some of the unsafe sections. Central Park is an example of a place you don’t want to be at night, so don’t contemplate a shortcut,” says McAullife.

McAullife advises tourists to do as the locals do when out and about and ensure valuables are kept out of sight.

“Petty crime is very common in public places across America. If you’re out to party, you should be even more careful as being drunk means being a target. Regardless of the city you are in, there will be plenty of crooks waiting for you to stumble their way. Be especially wary in party capitals like Vegas and New Orleans,” says McAullife.

Britain’s Prince Harry learned the need to be careful in Vegas just recently, when a couple of women took photos of him naked while playing strip billiards.

Here’s SureSave’s list:

PLACES TO AVOID IN POPULAR CITIES:

  • Las Vegas: The most popular part of the Strip is safe, but it does get a bit seedy after dark north of Sahara.
  • New Orleans: Stick to the busy parts of the French Quarter. Avoid going north of Rampart Street into Treme, or crossing the canal into the Lower Ninth.
  • New York City: Don’t take a short cut through Central Park after dark and keep your hand on your wallet on the subway.
  • San Francisco: The Tenderloin district is the hang out of drug dealers, prostitutes and the homeless, but also scores of trendy bars and restaurants.
  • Los Angeles:  LA has a gang and drug crime problem, but not in areas where tourists visit.  Avoid South Central LA, East Hollywood, Downtown, Westlake/MacArthur Park, Mid City, Highland Park and Lincoln Heights.

Edited by : Peter Needham

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