Is it safe to go to Florida?


Just thinking . . .

In the past year – we’ve heard of some pretty horrific child abduction, rape, murder cases out of Florida. As a matter of fact, we’ve heard some pretty horrendous cases all over the United States of children gone missing, kids raped and killed – -as well as adults being killed . . . husbands killing their wives — wives killing husbands – – parents murdering their kids . . . kids shooting other kids… shooting up schools . . . work place violence. . and on and on.

I haven’t looked up the crime rate in the United States — but it’s not great, really.

In the media blitz over young Natalee Haloway gone missing in Aruba – I’ve notice an odd happenstance. This girl goes missing – – rumor swirl over her dissapearance and it just doesn’t look good that she’s still alive at this point. I hope she is, but according to the news, I’m not overly optimistic.

The odd thing I noticed?


“Do you think it’s safe to travel to Aruba?”
“Would you travel to Aruba after hearing about this?”
“We’re taking a poll – – 48% say they will never travel to Aruba because of this case”
“Is Aruba safe?”

Ok – legitimate questions?

I wonder what the comparison would be if they compared Aruba’s crime rate over the past 10 years to that of New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami — etc, etc, etc.

With all the bad news that came out of Florida this year — did you hear the media asking :

“Is it safe to travel to Florida?”
“Will you ever travel to Florida again?”
“We took a poll and 48% will never travel to Florida ever again”

It’s not that people don’t think of those things on their own – – but I don’t believe I have ever heard of the media pushing the ‘safe’ issue in places within the United States. However, when crime happens in another country – – the media seems to be questioning whether or not anyone should ever travel to that spot ever, ever again. Almost, in effect, frightening Americans from travelling to that country — making it sound so ominous and scary.

You’re probably safer in Aruba than you are in LA. Or at least, just as safe.

Who knows? Just something I noticed.

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34 thoughts on “Is it safe to go to Florida?”

  1. I always like to use DC in my comparisons. Nation’s capital with all those politicians, so many laws that you can barely even go to the bathroom in your own home without breaking one, tightest gun control in the country, and the crime rate is how high??? Yeah, either DC or Milwaukee…

  2. I think this is a bit of a stretch since those cases you refer to in the US involve residents, not travelers. And people do often ask, “is it safe to live here in XXX?” or in XXX neighborhood. The DC reference above is a good example.

    I remember a few years back when tourists in rental cars were being targeted (I think in LA) – robbed and killed – there was a big media frenzy about whether it was safe to travel there.

    I think it is a legitimate question to ask, provided they give responsible answers. In this case it doesn’t appear that Aruba was a particularly dangerous destination, just that she was a bit too naive or adventurous.

  3. To Lisa,

    On Florida,have you had too many smoothies? Florida is a very, very safe place. This is especially true in Panama Beach, South Beach, Daytona Beach
    St. Pete Beach and so on. The crime rate is low. The missing children & murdered children was a fluke. It is definately not the norm.

  4. Recall that one of Aruba’s biggest industries is American tourism. By giving the Natalee Haloway case so much attention and asking questions concerning the safety of Aruba, the media is putting pressure on the legal system in Aruba (at least they feel they are putting pressure on the Aruban legal system) to solve this case. From Aruba’s point of view, the sooner the case is solved, the sooner this negative press will be out of the news.

  5. I think that if you’re situationally unaware you can be in great danger anywhere.

    Of course, I only live in states that allow concealed carry. *snort*

  6. There was a rash of tourists being targeted in Florida years ago, and it was blamed on the the ‘Z’ in their licence plates, that apparently was reserved for rental cars.

    So the big Car Rental places removed any stickers that advertised their company, the state changed the Z requirement in the plates, and people felt safe.

    To this day, any time I look at a car, I can tell it’s a rental (for example: a bar code on the back window). Yet those crimes seem to have evaporated.

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only person who noticed this, thanks Lisa. I’m sure Aruba is perfectly safe and I would not hesitate to consider it as a vacation destination.

    By all accounts this girl was enjoying herself, it is every bit as likely that she overdosed or was involved in an accident as there to have been foul play. I’m sure they are working diligently to uncover the truth. The media coverage once more is way over zealous, and at least a part of me wonders if it is not entirely driven by the medias fustration with the way the Aruban police and legal system works. I thought one of the reporters on CNN was going to have an anurism because they wouldn’t tell him what the suspect had been charged with. The official was patiently trying to explain the process which was completely lost on the reporter, aparently he could not comprehend that Aruban justice didn’t opperate the same as US justice.

    As far as Florida is concerned we certainly have had a bad couple of months. I wouldn’t go so far as Bill and to declare Florida the safest place in the world but it is no where as bad as it is being portrayed right now. When ever I listen to the media I am always reminded of the BSE incident in the UK,(AKA Mad Cow)A great deal was made of the 10 people who died of the human version of the virus (CJD) and how that pointed to the fact that the disease was comunicatable across the species especially in the case of the man that ate at McDonalds. Years later we find out that one of the people was a vegan and hadn’t eaten beef in years, and the number of cases of CJD that year was actually down on previous years averages. It is not that the media misreported what happened, 10 people did die, one was a Mackey Ds officionado, but it was what they chose to report and perhaps more importantly what they didn’t. Again 2 years ago they decided to focus on Shark attacks, we had stories of uncles wrestling sharks onto the beech to rescue a nephews limb, a man jumping on a bull shark and being eaten, and everyone was lead to beleive that it was unsafe to go into the water, turns out shark attacks were down that year too.

    Just goes to show, even if you can belive what you read, you still need to take it with a pinch of salt.

  8. This is true for more or less every fairly developed country: peoples perception of the dangers of crime and the actual danger differ a lot.

    Over here for example people do thing according to some polls that life esp. for children got unsafer with regard to kidnapping/abuse and such. There simply was a lot of media buzz recently about such things.

    Well, in the last 20 years the rate of such crimes droped by 80% (!)

  9. I wanted to point out that in the
    tourist cities like Miami, NY, LA,
    Orlando, etc. the crime statistics
    are misleading because when a tourist
    is a victim, they are not counted
    in the population, but counted in the
    crime stats. If you look at the stats for Orlando, Fl, the city scores over the national average in every crime category. I have lived in both Orlando
    and New York, and I would much rather live in the nice suburb of NY where I now reside, than live in Orlando. Several of my fellow employees’ children
    were involved in shootings in Orlando
    and that’s one of the reasons I came
    back to NY, I feel it’s much safer here
    because people have better jobs and higher imcomes and don’t need to resort to crime to live.

  10. I went to Aruba a little over five years ago, on vacation with my mother. The people are friendly and it’s a safe island (I remember our tour operator saying there wasn’t hardly any crime because, “Where are you going to go?” but, every place has it’s challenges and the key is that you don’t put yourself into compromising positions…period.

    Most places aren’t safe if you get drunk and wander off with three men you don’t know.

  11. Isn’t there a bunch of missing women
    in the Tampa, Florida area? I was talking about a woman who was reported missing to my friend in a supermarket last year and another customer heard
    me. He told me that many woman have been
    reported missing from that area over
    the years.

    I was in Aruba five years ago with a boyfriend, I enjoyed every minute of it,
    it was the best vacation I ever had, everything was perfect. A few years
    before I went someone shot people who were on the beach in Aruba, I don’t remember the details, but I mentioned it to my boyfriend. He is a high ranking military officer and he said anyone of the hotel workers could be
    armed and dangerous and we would never know. I tried not to think about his comment because I did not want to ruin
    my vacation.
    I really hope Natalee is found safe, but she did not use good judgement. She left her passport in her room, and she should have stayed in a group at Carlos and Charlies. Those boys could have slipped a drug in her drink at the bar
    without her knowledge. My boyfriend always told me, never leave your drink on the bar if you go to the restroom, always take it with you. I think Natalee
    is probably too young, naive, and sheltered to know how to deal with the
    real world and these factors caused her to make a fatal mistake. I was like that at her age, I was very trusting
    and it cost me dearly for many years,
    so now I don’t get involved with many
    people except my family and a few friends. Not many people are honest today, especially men.

  12. I have been to Aruba twice and the most recent was in October 04. I feel that it is a very safe island and better yet the safest in the carribean. My option, it doesn’t matter where you are or who your with if someone wants to hurt you they will find a way. Sad but true.

  13. It’s just the latest ‘poor pretty white girl’ story in the news. In case you never noticed, we live in a racist society. If you are black, who cares. Give us Laci Peterson, Runaway Bride, Shiavo, but no blacks, that ain’t news worthy.

  14. Lisa, I have had the same thoughts! There is so much crime and corruption coming from FL these days – it’s eerie.

    I like your blog! I set out to visit blogs of girl geeks today – I’m hoping to be one by the time I’m 80 or so.:smile:

  15. I think a lot of it has to do with the type of crime (or at least the perception of the types of crime).

    IE: You may get mugged or raped in Florida, but it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get kidnapped by a white slavery ring and sold.

  16. I went to Aruba 2 years ago and had the time of my life. I remember thinking that I had never felt so safe on vacation. Were planning to go back in September of 2005. We have our hotel and airfare booked. I feel safer in Aruba then I do in my own neighborhood. I won’t even walk in my neighborhood at night, all I hear is cop and fire trucks go by 2-3 times a night. I look forward to the quiet beach. My advise to anybody young person going to a bar is to not leave with somebody you just met, especially if you have been drinking. Wait till your sober and see if your still interested in that person and see if you would make the same decision sober. The bar that Natalie was at is right by the boat cruise boat dock and is meant for tourists. So if local boys are hanging out at places designed for tourists they usually just want sex.

  17. Have been to Aruba many times. Always had a wonderful trip. The prople are very friendly and nice.Ok, would I go now. NO until they slove this case.Why shoul I or anyone be in jeopardy if ther is someone doing some pretty horrible things. Where the hell were her friends to leave her wiht these strange people. Yes, may she is a book smart girl Natale but no sense of judgement. I do hope they will find who did this horrific crime but they need to get with the real program. After all this is way to long.Think they should look into the two other close Islands or is that to difficult? Let’s get going.::idea:

  18. I never thought of bringing my opinion forward, but here it is….I am a native Aruban girl and proud to be one. On this island Aruba, you will find every kind of people, just like in Florida. The difference is that our driven force is Tourism Industry. Half of the Aruban population works directly in the Tourism Industry. Hotels, restaurants, taxi name them…and you can see on these people faces that they are more than happy doing their job. I do understand Ms. T’s (Nataly’s mom) frustration right now, but I think her daughter as a straight A student should have thought twice in getting drunk in a car with strangers. I am entirely sure that she would not have done it either in her own hometown in Alabama. Not even ourself do that here. This does not mean that I am defending anyone either, but right now, we Aruban Citizens are paying by all these sad publications of our Friendly Island Aruba. Should we not go the States because there are several cases of violent rapes? I guess we have to start to pray that everything turns right into place and what I hope that ‘no matter what’ this girl comes forward with this statement: I am sorry for what I have done, but there has been issues I could not worked out. But I am fine!
    Which to me would be the nicest outcome of this whole misunderstanding.

  19. Very nice comment, well worth waiting for. It is a very sad fact that the livelihood of the Aruban people will definitely be negatively effected by this event. Personally I would have no problems traveling there if I were in the market for a vacation but alas there are a good many more people who will opt for elsewhere, at least until something happens somewhere else. The unfortunate thing is that while in Florida we have had 3 young girls abducted and killed by sexual predators, which is so much worse than what could possibly have happened on Aruba our tourism will bearly be effected.

  20. My heart goes out to her family, and there’s good and bad all over the world, but I have a feeling that they know much more then what they are saying, and I have a feeling his dad had to do something with this,to the family don’t loose your FAITH, may GOD Bless all your family, and I don’t have much but if I can help in any way my s/n is there, my prayers go to all your family, and I pray that she’s well and that soon she will be with her mom and dad,I pray LORD in the name of JESUS, that she is fine and safe, and that her mother finds her daughter. Doris…….

  21. I will be relocating to Florida, (Clearwater) and I want to thank all who posted good things about Florida…I feel better now about moving down there. I am bored in Maryland (nothing happining here).

  22. My family and I relocated f/Boston to Cape Coral Florida. I was concerned over safety issues and schools. Cape Coral was extremly safe and rated #3 on safest cities not to mention the fastest growing. Schools are the same every where. If your intent is to put them on a bus and leave it to the school, they will fail. If you are involved in your child/childrens lives and education, they will be fine. I found the people to be extremly friendly. I did not find much for history, culture or the arts. The house prices have increased dramatically, the job market unfortunately does not go hand and hand w/the increase. I moved w/the misrepresentation that Florida would be a lower cost of living, it is not. Since, I am now back in Boston.
    My children & I have traveled to Aruba 2x. I feel the people go out of there way to please you. I never felt unsafe or concern for my safety. However, I have learned a lot by the disappearance of Natalee Holloway especially the laws. I would now think twice prior to bring my family out of the US.
    My heart goes out to the family of Natalee Holloway. I feel if it wasn’t for her mother being in Aruba and pushing the issue, Aruba would have swept it under the rug. That is what is doing damage in my opinion to Aruba.

  23. hi i am from aruba thank you for saing that not so much crime happend to aruba
    because its treu go to other places and you see that there is so much crime thaan here come to aruba

  24. I do not believe it is safe if you can go to a bar/club like Natalee did where the bartenders will slip something in a girls drink if you pay them to. I know they do this, because I have had many friends from Aruba tell me they do.

  25. Tourist revenue aside, certainly the average Aruban would love to see the ignorant, tacky, obnoxious, obese, fascist turd Amerikkkans stay the hell off their island. Better idea: Amerikkka, why not boycott the entire rest of the world? We could ALL use a permanent break from you.

  26. 🙁 CRY US A DANG RIVER! ARUBA IS NOT SAFE. Grow up… PEOPLE! If this is how people act in Aruba-no wonder they can’t find Natalee.

    You idiots in >Aruba> right here in the United States.

  27. We have some of the most beautiful beaches,We dont need your stupid little corrupt paradise to vacation. A little dutch no mans land until the Americans took and interest in it. Funded by US dollars.

  28. For all off you that are talking bad about Aruba. Lets bring some faqs
    1) You can count Aruba’s crime rate in a year on your hand and still you won’t reach all 5 fingers.
    2) the 3 boys that are involved are not even Arubian. 1 is a dutch and 2 are from suriname.
    3) They brought special forces from the netherlands to search for her. They brought F16 to look for her.

    Maybe you guys need to start asking yourself why her mom plased a few million dollors life insurance before she went to Aruba.

    Not every plase in the world is currupt like the United state. If you have money you van control the gouverment.

  29. Aruba’s crime rate seems to be the result of their inability to find evidence of a crime rather than a lack of crime. I just read that police said they could find no evidence of a crime in the case of the man whose body was found mutilated and burned. 😕 There have also been many unexplained events in the Holloway investigation that lead me and many others to believe that this crime was covered up. An American tourist in a casino brings money to Aruba; investigating a crime against an American tourist costs Aruba. We’ve seen where Aruba’s priorities lie in the handling of this case. It’s not all about “safe”, although that’s what Aruba emphasizes, and it doesn’t seem to be true. If Aruba can’t be honest about it’s crime, can’t investigate crimes against American tourists honestly and competently, can’t be honest with family about an investigation, then I think Aruba wants US money, not their citizens. I’d rather go to Florida.

  30. My husband and I have vacationed in Aruba twice and are going again this summer. We fell in love with Aruba when we first went 5 years ago. Before we left I did a lot of reading and many books called it the “Happy Island”. I didn’t really understand what it meant until we went there. Everyone is so nice and upbeat at the resorts. Not only are they nice but all the vacationers we ran into smiled and talked to us right away as if we had known them forever. We have taken vacations all over the United States and nowhere have we found people so friendly. There are families, honeymooners and couples just having a wonderful time. Since my husband and I had wanted to start visiting other islands we have talked to many couples who are much more traveled than we are. They all repeated the same thing – once they went to Aruba they don’t care if they ever visit another island. The water is crystal blue and very calm. They don’t have alot of rain so I’m sure there are prettier islands but you can plan on getting up every morning to a blue sky and prefect weather. You don’t have to worry about hurricanes since Aruba is outside the hurricane belt. No where will you find better restaurants than Aruba. Our favorites are Madame Jeanettes, El Gaucho, French Steak House, Papiamento, the restaurant at Tierra Del Sol (has a wonderful Sax player who is as great as Kenny G, and the Flying Fishbone where you can dine at a table with your feet in the sand right next to the water if you like. My husband and I prefer dining outside at these places because they make it like a wonderland even though you do have the option to dine inside if you like. Have never had a bug land on me.

    I am a mother a can’t imagine what Natalie Holloway’s mother and father go thru on a daily basis but I can tell you that if we look at ourself (the U.S.) we have things like these happening everyday so I can’t imagine boycotting a wonderful island like Aruba.

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