KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): Nine countries — Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and Israel — have issued various levels of travel warnings against the US due to increasing violence in the country.
In a report Tuesday (Nov 29), CNN said would-be visitors aren't being warned off entirely as if America is an active war zone.
It said each nation has its own approach, but a general theme boils down to this: The US is more violent than what travellers are used to.
The Australian government has warned its citizens who plan to visit the US that "violent crime is more common than in Australia and gun crime is possible in all areas. Follow local guidance and instructions. If you live in the US, learn active shooter drills."
On its SmartTraveller website, the Australian government also reminded would-be travellers that "it's legal for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public".
Canada advised its citizens to "take normal security precautions" when visiting the US.
The Canadian government warned its citizens about crossing the US-Mexico border by car, citing "criminal incidents associated with drug trafficking". It also told its citizens to avoid travelling at night at the border.
Meanwhile, the UK reminded would-be visitors to the US that "incidents of mass shooting can occur, but account for a very small percentage of homicide deaths".
It also told its citizens that "violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night."
Like Canada, the UK cautioned about the US-Mexico border.
Israel issued warnings on a scale of 01 to 04, with 04 being the highest risk level. Israel's travel warnings are focused on terrorism directed specifically at its citizens when abroad versus more general crime worries.
For example, people are warned away from the North African nation of Algeria, which has an 04 ranking because of terror groups and "hostility towards Israel on the Algerian street".
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a different take.
It said generally "the United States of America is among the safest countries", but it did warn French citizens about some urban areas and notes an increase in carjackings.
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs told German citizens that "it is easy to obtain guns in the United States, leading to increased use of guns and occasional killing sprees".
It said the number of arms and ammunition purchases has increased significantly during the Covid-19 crisis.
It also warned would-be visitors to the US about the possibilities of domestic clashes over racism and police violence, advising them to "avoid gatherings of people in the vicinity of which violence could possibly occur".
CNN said Mexico specifically noted that "historical racial and ethnic tension, including opposition to immigration, have led to attacks by violent extremist groups" and then cited the mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart in 2019, in which more than 20 people were killed.
The government advised its citizens to avoid large crowds in the US and for travellers to always carry a copy of their Mexican passport and an official photo ID.
Japan warned that "it is important to recognise that the security situation is very different between the United States and Japan, and to understand what kind of crime victims are at high risk in what areas".
Finally, New Zealand's SAFETRAVEL website goes on to warn its citizens that "there is a higher incidence of violent crime and firearm possession than in New Zealand. In many states, it is legal for United States citizens to openly carry firearms in public. However, crime rates vary considerably across cities and suburbs and incidents rarely involve tourists."