Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crime, Violence, Peace, and Safety in Vietnam

Some people are understandably concerned about crime and violence here. A recent article, Expats clamor over crime, describes some of the responses by expats on the heals of a US State Department (the Consulate here) warning.

I was wondering why I just didn't share the same intensity and perceptions about Vietnam as some others do. See Reason # 8 Vietnam beats Mexico -- Safety Though just chance has something to do with it (wrong place, wrong time), perception and experience play a part, too. For example, I almost got my wallet lifted in Quy Nhon, but I noticed the guy behind me, stalking me, and turned around and faced him. I told his punk a$$ to move along. Crisis avoided because I was just normally aware. That said, more than once people here have noticed that my wallet was exposed (pretty much hanging out of my pocket) and told me about it.

But back to my point. Here is the 2011 edition of the Global Peace Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. (pdf)

Vietnam is at 30, while the US is at 82. Those from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK are going to probably think of Vietnam as relatively more crime-ridden than I do. I can understand why.

In sum: yes, there's crime and violence, but it's better than what I've experienced in general in the US. To my South African compadres: enjoy some good, relatively safe, times here. I sure am. And those who have spent time in some of the lower-ranked countries on this list will most likely find their stay here a pretty good one in terms of relative safety.

Of course, this doesn't speak to traffic! In the final analysis, watch yourself just as you should anywhere, make friends, and get a good helmet.