What travel warnings are other nations giving their citizens about American violence?

(CNN) – American travelers – at least those who are cautious – may know the policy of the US State Department travel advisory.

The agency monitors the world for potential problems and issues warnings ranging from “Level 1: Take normal precautions” to “Level 4: Do not travel”, alerting potential visitors. terrorist threats, war, arbitrary application of local laws, high crime rates and other personal safety issues.

But have you ever wondered how the governments of other countries warn their citizens to come to the United States? What kind of reputation does America have?

After all, the firearm death rates in the United States has increased in recent years.

Mass shootings have become downright commonplace: 690 in 2021; 647 in 2022; and 40 to 6:30 p.m. ET on January 24, 2023, according to Gun Violence Archives.

The worst mass shootings, like the recent ones in California, grab headlines not just in the United States, but global. And while mass shootings get the most attention, they represent a small fraction of the total number of gun-related deaths in the United States.

CNN Travel checked what the governments of the United States’ closest neighbors and allies are telling their citizens to come here. It’s not exactly a flattering image.

Potential visitors are not fully warned as if America is an active war zone. Each nation has its own approach, but a general theme boils down to this: the United States is more violent than you’re used to. Learn to take precautions you might not have to take at home.

The other point to remember: violent crimes rarely involve tourists.

Here’s more about what nine countries — which account for a good chunk of U.S. international tourist traffic — have to say:


In 1996, 35 people were killed in a shooting in Port Arthur on the island of Tasmania. Following the massacre, Australia passed stricter gun control laws, which included “a virtual ban on all fully automatic or semi-automatic firearms”. according to Britannica online encyclopedia.

So, for more than 25 years, Australians have lived in a gun culture quite different from that of Americans.

The Australian government warns its citizens who are considering traveling to the United States that violent crime is more prevalent than in Australia and that gun crime is possible in all areas. It asks Australians to follow local guidelines and instructions. They are encouraged to learn active fire drills if they live in the United States.

On his SmartTraveller website, the Australian government also reminds potential travelers that “although tourists are rarely targeted, there is always a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. It does not provide advice on specific incidents “unless there is a significant risk to Australians”.

Yet it does not warn its citizens to travel to the United States. Since January 24, he has advised to “take the normal safety precautions in the United States of America”.


Canada advises its citizens to “take normal security precautions” when visiting the United States.

The Canadian government warns its citizens against crossing the US-Mexico border by car, citing “criminal incidents related to drug trafficking”. He tells his citizens to avoid traveling at night across the border.

It also warns of violence linked to gangs and organized crime in major urban areas, noting that violent crime “rarely affects tourists”, but warning travelers to be mindful of their surroundings and resist if thieves hit them. threaten.

The government also reminds Canadians of the frequent mass shootings in the United States. “Mass shootings do occur, most often resulting in casualties. Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”


The UK recalls potential visitors to America that “mass shooting incidents may occur, but account for a very small percentage of homicide deaths”.

It also tells its citizens that “Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should be careful when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking alone in less frequented, especially at night.

Like Canada, the UK cautions against the US-Mexico border.

In the advice column, the UK warns its citizens against inappropriate humour: “Do not make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports.”

Lauren Redfern, a London resident in her early 30s who was completing a doctorate in medical anthropology, made numerous trips to the United States in 2018 (Chicago to New Orleans) and 2022 (Los Angeles).

She told CNN Travel in the summer of 2022 that she was aware of gun violence in the United States at the start of her journey in 2018, but felt very distant from it. “At that time, I absolutely wouldn’t consider doing anything differently” from what she would do in the UK.

But while staying at an Airbnb in New Orleans, she was doing laundry in a common area when someone opened a door and rammed the barrel of a shotgun.

No shots were fired, but “it was this weird, out-of-body experience where it really made me think and appreciate and understand ‘oh, this is very real’ on a level that I don’t have ever known and will never know in the UK.”

“This experience has definitely changed my sense of personal safety while traveling in the United States,” Redfern said.

That didn’t deter her from making another trip to the United States, but “it changed the way I think about American culture.” She is now much less likely to venture out on her own when visiting the US compared to London, where she has no worries about doing so.


Israel is a very security-conscious country with special ties to the United States.

He emits warnings on a scale of 01 to 04, the latter being the highest level of risk. Israel’s travel warnings focus on terrorism directed specifically against its citizens while abroad versus more general criminal concerns.

For example, people are being warned to keep the North African nation away from Algeria, which has an 04 rating due to terrorist groups and “hostility towards Israel on the Algerian street”.

However, the United States is rated at 01 (“ordinary precautions”) despite an increase in antisemitic incidents.


The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a different grip.

He generally states that “the United States of America is among the safest countries”, but he warns the French against certain urban areas and notes an increase in carjackings.

Interestingly, the department breaks down potential threats to specific neighborhoods. Some examples :

• In Boston, “it is recommended to avoid traveling alone, on foot and at night, in certain parts of Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury”.

• In Atlanta, French visitors are invited to “be vigilant in isolated areas of the city center (downtown) after the closing of the offices and to favor travel by taxi at night”.


Germany is another US ally with strong tourism ties, and it has strict gun laws and a much lower rate of firearm homicides compared to the United States. It is even inferior to some of its European neighbors and allies.

His Ministry of Foreign Affairs tells German citizens that “It is easy to obtain weapons in the United States, leading to increased use of weapons and occasional killings. The number of purchases of weapons and ammunition has increased significantly during the crisis of COVID-19”.

It also warns potential visitors to the United States of the possibility of domestic confrontations related to racism and police violence, advising them “to avoid gatherings of people near which violence could possibly occur”.


For Americans, the Department of State’s travel advisories are a valuable resource for determining the safest areas in Mexico to visit.

But Mexicans have their own concerns about visiting their northern neighbor. (For example, one of those killed in the mass shooting in the Highland Park, Illinois, 4th of July parade in 2022 was a visiting mexican family.)

When this story was last reposted in late January 2023, the Mexican government foreign travel alert page for the United States didn’t work (although the warnings did work for other countries like Egypt and Turkey).

However, CNN’s library research team found travel advisories to the United States posted on the site in May 2021.

He specifically noted that “historic racial and ethnic tensions, including opposition to immigration, have led to attacks by violent extremist groups,” then cited the mass shooting of a El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart in 2019in which more than 20 people were killed.

The government has advised its citizens to avoid large crowds in the United States and travelers to always carry a copy of their Mexican passport and official photo ID with them.


Despite the shocking assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022, Japan has a homicide rate well below the United States.

It is therefore not surprising that the government warns that “it is important to recognize that the security situation is very different between the United States and Japan, and to understand what type of crime victims are at high risk in which regions”.

It states that “one of the major security issues in the United States is gun crime” and offers many tips for getting out or hiding in potential active shooter situations, including:

• Find safety exits in a new location and have an escape plan
• Hide in a room and barricade the door with heavy furniture
• Keep cell phones quiet and mute

If a Japanese tourist cannot escape or hide, he is advised to “throw objects near the criminal, use them as weapons”.

New Zealand

As of January 24, 2023, the neighboring island of Australia had an “exercise heightened caution (level 2 of 4)” alert for the United States “due to the terrorist threat”.

from new zealand SAFETRAVEL website continues by warning its citizens that “there is a higher incidence of violent crime and gun ownership than in New Zealand. In many states, it is legal for US citizens to openly carry guns to fire in public. However, crime rates vary widely from city to city and suburbs and incidents rarely involve tourists.”

He suggests that people coming to the United States research their specific destinations before traveling and seek local advice.

Comments are closed.