You may have heard the saying, “Lies, bloody lies, and statistics.” This is certainly true when it comes to overseas travel security. As experts in overseas travel security consulting, we get a lot of questions from clients and journalists as to what the “facts” are about travel security. Indeed, our GlobalSecur travel service in combination with FoneTrac keeps us very informed about the world out there. And let’s fact it – there are a lot of risks and incidents. But headlines are not risks, and anecdotes are not statistics – and none of this matters when it is you, or an employee, that is confronting a security challenging. Let’s look at the recent example and headline concerning Great Britain. The headlines about London suddenly having a higher murder rates than New York. Is London now “unsafe” and New York “safe?” Should you or your business executives call off that meeting in London, or that business trip to the UK?
Hardly. Great Britain is the highest-ranked overseas destination for visitors from the United States and the number one most popular study abroad destination for American students. That is why the recent news of London’s murder rate might cause alarm for many potential travelers. The fact that London’s murder rate now exceeds that of New York is alarming. But this must be taken in perspective. This reflects only two months, February and March of 2018, while the overall yearly rate is still more than twice as high in New York. And the British murder rate as a whole is much lower than in the United States. American per capita murder rates are about four times as high as those in Great Britain. So, statistically speaking, Great Britain remains safer than the United States with respect to the murder rate.
But that’s not to say that travel to the UK (or to anywhere) is risk free. There are the “mundane” risks of travel like getting sick with the flu, or being (innocently) hit by a car. (Remember to look right, not left, when stepping off a curb in London!). Those are real risks that won’t make headlines. And then there are terrorism risks, and to business travelers and those planning overseas meeting security, the risks of cybersecurity and industrial espionage. The point here is that while you should read the papers to stay up with the news, don’t believe everything you read in them and dig deeper when analyzing your security. Indeed, having a professional security evaluation or security audit for your company, employees, and executive travelers is something we recommend. After all, it’s what might happen to you, your employees, and your company that matters – not the statistics.