June 25, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

The Bodyguard Group’s Kris Herzog Offers Travels Tips

 The Bodyguard Group (TBG) of Beverly Hills has an international division which, like its domestic operations, is staffed exclusively with Navy SEAL and DevGru SEAL Team 6, Army Delta and Special Forces veterans. This 45-year-old division is currently consulting on or actively working to protect American travelers in 27 countries. In light of recent crimes against American tourists in Brazil and India now seemed like a good time to chat with Kris Herzog, head of The Bodyguard Group, about travel tips.

Naturally, Herzog believes that you should hire TBG as part of your international travel plans so that you have the advantage of the firm’s government contacts in 100+ foreign countries. Plus, they plan every step of your trip and can track your movements by encrypted GPS devices some of which are so small that you can swallow them (I don’t want to ask about their removal). But for those not up for this sort of protection, here are some tips all of us can use to stay safe on vacation.

“You should assume that as soon as you leave the United States you no longer have any civil rights, period. If you think you can DEMAND to see the U.S. Embassy Representative in a given country you are wrong and possibly DEAD wrong,†says an emphatic, Herzog.

“90% of the world’s countries are dangerous because of rampant corruption in both their police forces and governments. And, 40% of countries have drug gangs and cartels that wield almost complete control in more territory than its government,†Herzog continues.

Herzog advises travels to keep themselves inconspicuous, “Don’t think you can just arrive in any foreign country and spend more on your trip than its average citizen earns in a year and NOT draw attention to yourself, you are wrong, possibly DEAD wrong.†I mentioned that Herzog is passionate about safety, right? He is, the capitalization is his – but his point is valid. Don’t put yourself forth as the Ugly American stereotype, even if this sort of crass behavior doesn’t get you in trouble it reflects badly on Americans generally. And, it’s just plain rude.

TBG advises against travel to the 25 countries listed below (unless protected by TBG, naturally) from worst to worst-of-the-worst.

25. Burundi 21.7 homicides per 100,000 (1,726)
24. Dominica 22.1 homicides per 100,000 (15)
23. Guinea 22.5 homicides per 100,000 (2,152)
22. Ethiopia 22.5 homicides per 100,000 (20,239)
21. Mexico 22.7 homicides per 100,000 (25,757)
20. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 22.9 homicides per 100,000 (25)
19. Sudan 24.2 homicides per 100,000 (10,028)
18. Tanzania 24.5 homicides per 100,000 (10,357)
17. Dominican Republic 25.0 homicides per 100,000 (2,513)
16. Saint Lucia 25.2 homicides per 100,000 (44)
15. Bahamas 27.4 homicides per 100,000 (94)
14. Central African Republic 29.3 homicides per 100,000 (1,240)
13. Congo 30.8 homicides per 100,000 (1,180)
12. Colombia 31.0 homicides per 100,000 (14,670)
11. South Africa 31.8 homicides per 100,000 (15,940)
10. Trinidad and Tobago 35.2 homicides per 100,000 (472)
9. Lesotho 35.2 homicides per 100,000 (764)
8. Saint Kitts and Nevis 38.2 homicides per 100,000 (20)
7. Guatemala 38.5 homicides per 100,000 (5,681)
6. Belize 41.4 homicides per 100,000 (129)
5. Venezuela 45.1 homicides per 100,000 (13,080)
4. Jamaica 52.2 homicides per 100,000 (1,430)
3. Ivory Coast 56.9 homicides per 100,000 (10,801)
2. El Salvador 69.2 homicides per 100,000 (4,308)
1. Honduras 91.6 homicides per 100,000 (7,104)

Travel to the hotspots below is just a bad, bad idea.

1. Syria
Countries with ongoing civil wars are usually a bad tourist destination. This seems obvious but so did the cobblestone I tripped over last week so it’s worth mentioning.

Constant news stories about bombings, murders and other abuses in this country are tragic – and a danger to citizens and tourists alike. In the past months, the criminal offenses have extended to innocent tourists. Until the Civil War ends it’s best to avoid this culturally rich and beautiful land.

2. Israel
Israel is considered a ticking time bomb – and that’s on a good day. True, it’s relatively safe to travel to the Holy Land nowadays, tourists should be aware of the increasing risks of terrorist and extremist activities given the country’s recent election. If you visit Israel, it is best to avoid West Bank, Gaza Strip and other high-tension areas.

3. Somalia
Somalia has been in a Civil War since 1990 making it an unappealing tourist destination (remember, countries at war tend to be bloody and you don’t want to be collateral damage). This is tragic for the citizens of Somalia and travelers alike as it was a very popular destination until war broke out in 1990. But wait; there are more reasons to avoid this region. In addition to the decades of war, warring drug lords plague this African country. If you must venture to this beautiful but tragic land, you really should hire private bodyguards – naturally, Herzog thinks that they should be TBG.

4. South Africa
South Africa brings to mind exotic animals, Nelson Mandela, Soccer’s World Cup. But, as the Oscar Pistorius case has brought to light, the country has an astoundingly high crime rate as has been proclaimed the rape capital of the world. Despite this nasty realities, if you are careful while visiting this amazing country — do not wander around on dark alleys in the evening – and follow the advice offered by your local hotel or hosts, you should have a memorable vacation for all of the right reasons.

5. Afghanistan
Although the war in Afghanistan is technically over… it’s Afghanistan people! This exclamation point is mine. Afghanistan is home to Al-Qa’ida, yes, that Al-Qa’ida the terrorist organization that is not fond of Europeans or Americans. And let’s not forget the oppressive Taliban who ruled the country for years and may likely rule it again. While yes, my husband still harbors traveling along the old Silk Road route, even he realizes he may have to kick this trip off his bucket list.

6. Pakistan
Even though there have been few conflicts involving foreign citizens in Pakistan, suicide bombings and kidnappings are on the rise. Benazir Bhutto, a former Prime Minister of the country, was assaninated while campaigning for parliament and this is the place where journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded. If that’s not enough to make you cross this off your itinerary, frequent reports of girls having acid thrown at them for merely looking at a boy, attending secondary school or other perceived threats to a family’s honor should do it, despite the beauty of its environs.

7. Iraq
Like its neighbors, Iraq is affected by terrorist activities that, sadly for the population, have not appreciatively drooped despite the departure of Saddam Hussein and his extremist regime. Iraq is a de-facto war zone, without a lot of infrastructure due to the decade long war. Nobody is safe in Iraqi as Al Qaeda and extremist Kurdish rebels call this place home.

8. Colombia
Colombia is considered the world’s kidnap capital with an obnoxiously high kidnap-for-ransom rate. In addition, reporters highlight Columbian kidnappers and cocaine Warlords use of a new drug nicknamed “the devil’s breathe†because of its capacity to make those who ingest it compliant. (Would it be so wrong to give this drug to my children? Only in small amounts, I swear.) While, there are no official reports on the incidents involving this new drug — likely because victims who are under its sway do not remember anything about the people or events that took place during their intoxication – the unofficial din about its use is high. But wait, there’s more, don’t forget the armed guerrilla forces and terrorist attacks so take this beautiful slice of South America off your travel itinerary – at least for now.

9. Russia
Yes, Russia has a rather stable and flourishing economy – let’s not forget that it is the 3rd largest wheat exporter – but reports of violent crime are on the rise and it has one of the world’s highest kidnap rates. The ongoing political turmoil, a contributing factor to the increase in violence, should make tourists cautious.

10. Brazil
While Brazil is known for its carnivals, beaches and waxing techniques, the country’s crime rate is four times that of the U.S. Experts attribute this sadly dramatic rise in crime in large part to the fact that there is no middle class with dramatic differences between the rich and the very poor.

Happy Travels!

For more information: www.TheBodyguardGroup.com

For more of my opinions, just comment below, I will respond.

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