The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 18, 2013

Countries warn citizens about dangers in US

Reid Wilson
The Washington Post

— WASHINGTON — Planning a trip abroad? It would probably be best to check out the State Department's list of travel warnings for countries with unsafe political climates and high crime rates. At the moment, the State Department has issued travel warnings for 34 countries, from the Central African Republic and El Salvador to Iraq and North Korea.

Well, just as State warns Americans about dangerous places to travel, so, too, do foreign ministries in other countries — and some countries warn their citizens to avoid certain parts of certain cities in the United States.

France, in particular, warns travelers to be careful in a large number of specific cities.

Here's what other countries, mostly France, say about U.S. cities:

Boston: Avoid walking at night in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, and be wary of "petty crime" in Chinatown, the North End and Fenway.

New York: Be wary in Times Square and at the Statue of Liberty, and don't go to Harlem, the Bronx or Central Park at night.

Washington: Northeast and Southeast should be avoided, and Union Station is dangerous at night. "Le quartier Anacostia n'est pas recommandable de jour comme de nuit." Translation: Don't go to Anacostia, day or night.

Baltimore: "Considered a dangerous city except downtown."

Richmond: "Do not visit the city on foot."

Pittsburgh: The French urge their citizens to avoid Mount Oliver, Hill District, Homewood-Brushton and Hazelwood.

Cleveland: Avoid Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Euclid. That warning got Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelly upset. "The French government is foolish and doesn't know what they're talking about," he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Detroit: "The center is not recommended after the close of business."

Chicago: Stay away from the West Side and anywhere south of 59th Street.

Houston: Be vigilant if traveling through downtown, south and east Houston at night.

St. Louis: The French warn to avoid the northern area between the airport and the city center, but the airport shuttle is safe (hat tip to Chris Good of ABC News for spotting the nugget).

Atlanta: The French are nervous about the southern part of the city, and downtown after dark.

New Orleans: Northwest of Dauphine Street, northeast of Ursulines Avenue, north of St. Charles Avenue and south of Magazine Street are areas of concern.

Miami: "Canadians have been the victims of crime such as break-ins, assaults and pickpocketing in the Miami area, sometimes during daylight hours," Canada's foreign ministry warns. France says attacks on tourists in Florida are rare now, but were frequent a few years ago.

Los Angeles: France warns tourists to take care in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Long Beach and to avoid Watts, Inglewood and Florence.

El Paso: The British Foreign Office warns tourists about violence along the border with Mexico and specifically the border crossing at Ciudad Juarez.

Germany doesn't warn its citizens about any specific cities, but it does caution against letting it all hang out: "Although the laws in individual states categorizing nudity as 'indecent exposure' are rarely asserted and punished, those laws should absolutely be followed. Nude bathing and changing clothes at the beach stirs up public agitation and can lead to unpleasantnesses."