By Russ Warner, VP Marketing –
Whenever I’m about to travel to Central or South America, I always seem to elicit the same response from my friends and family — “Be careful, it’s dangerous down there!” Now, some of these people are actually speaking from personal experience, but most are probably basing their assessment of danger from what they’re hearing from the news media, which we all know tend to hype the bad and bury the good.
So how dangerous are the Americas really? Are people from the U.S. just suffering from “Mean World Syndrome,” or are those countries as dangerous as we’re lead to believe?
Looking to the Data
Vision of Humanity, a non-profit group dedicated to collecting and compiling data on the state of peace worldwide, recently published some pretty convincing data on the matter. This infographic illustrates three key elements of peacefulness in South America:
- The likelihood of homicide
- The likelihood of violent crime
- The likelihood of political instability
Just looking at this infographic, I would make sure to take especial caution when traveling to Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil or Guyana with their high murder rates. The further south you go, the safer it seems to be. Of course, you can experience murder, crime and political instability in the safest of countries, but it’s helpful to have the data to guide you to be more cautious.
Tools to Drive Change
Wherever there is corruption or violence, it seems like there’s always a politician promising to bring it down. For example, at the June 2 International Conference for Drug Control, Colombian President Juan Manual Santos called for radical change against drug trafficking. Proposed changes by politicians are usually worthwhile, but the citizens will never back them if they don’t feel like they can depend on the integrity of the politicians themselves, as we’re seeing with the corruption trial of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina.
Thankfully, there are tools that can help make a difference. EyeDetect® technology tracks involuntary eye movements while people answer questions on a computer to determine trustworthiness. With such a tool at their disposal, politicians, policemen and other people in positions of trust could be regularly screened for corrupt activities. As the use of EyeDetect continues to increase in South America, I predict it’ll lead to a more peaceful South America.