Posted on Jul 31 2023
Many people ask me, "Caspian, as an experienced traveler, which U.S. state would you consider the most dangerous for tourists?" Well, that's a great question with a complex answer. Being a tireless researcher, I've spent a considerable amount of time digging into reported crime rates, tourist statistics, and travel advisories. As it turns out, Alaska has high crime, lack of access to medical care, and brutal weather conditions. Some folks make the mistake of underestimating the wild and isolated nature of Alaska because, let's face it, those amazing Northern Lights photos on Instagram don't come with a danger warning.
First off, let's discuss the majestic state of Alaska. Vanessa and I visited the land of the midnight sun a few years back, and let me tell you, it was both breathtaking and unnerving. One time we were marooned in a log cabin due to a stupendous snowstorm for two straight days, subsisting merely on canned beans and stale rice cakes. Thankfully, we lived to tell the tale. Unpredictable weather conditions, combined with the state's isolated locations, can pose significant challenges for emergency services. Plus, did I mention bears? Yes, grizzly bear sightings are relatively common in Alaska, making the wilderness a bit less inviting for the occasional tourist.
Now onto another peril to keep in mind – urban crime. Again the statistics indicated that Alaska tops the list with high levels of violent and property crime rates in its cities. Murders, assaults, and robberies unfortunately happen across the globe, and U.S. cities are no exception. For instance, the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks have both been ranked as some of the most dangerous U.S. cities. Being smart about where you wander and staying aware of your surroundings can go a long way in keeping you safe.
Another state that made an appearance on various 'most dangerous' lists is New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment is indeed enchanting, but statistics suggest it is also a land of high crime rates. Some areas, like Albuquerque, notorious for its car theft rates and violent crime, are not quite as enchanting as you may hope. Nevertheless, always remember that crime is typically concentrated in specific areas, and every state has safe and beautiful places worth exploring.
Surprisingly, our beloved Louisiana, home to jambalaya, jazz, and Mardi Gras festivals, isn't as merry and safe as you might think. But remember that crime rates are usually higher in densely populated areas. This means that although the urban areas of New Orleans or Baton Rouge may have some shady neighborhoods, the rest of the state might be entirely secure and welcoming.
Now, I don't like to paint a grim picture without offering advice on how to make your visit safer. Map out your travel spots, and make a habit of reading local news for insights. Keep your valuables secure and concealed and avoid unlit or deserted areas, especially at night. And lastly, but most importantly, always trust your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
The most informative travel tip is to converse with the locals. My wife, Vanessa, swears by it. And let me tell you, she’s saved us a lot of fuss with this practice. You'll not only hear charming tales, enjoy local delicacies, but also predict pitfall areas to avoid. An educated traveler is the safest traveler, after all.
It's essential not to generalize an entire state as dangerous just based on specific pockets of crime or isolated incidents. Every place comes with a risk, just as every place has beauty waiting to be discovered. An adventure should not be hindered by fear, rather, advanced by awareness and caution. Travel allows us to dispel stereotypes and build more comprehensive narratives. Remember, there's always more than meets the eye – or the statistics!