Darwin safety becomes a political issue

No, this is not a rallying cry for fundamentalists or a push for evolutionary biology: I’m talking about Darwin, Australia.

After three tourists from Korea were assaulted and robbed, the Northeast Territory Opposition Leader, Terry Mills, called Darwin unsafe for travel. The visitors were relieved of their cigarettes, cell phone and a pair of sunglasses while walking to a bus stop in Parap. Three boys and a girl approached. The girl asked for cigarettes, and the boys attacked the target.

There have been other attacks in the area, as well, including one on a 75-year-old man who was beaten for pocket change en route to a bus stop in Palmerston. The week before that, 20 youths surrounded and allegedly bashed a man near a bus station.

Mills’ message has more to do with perception, it seems, than genuine travel advisory. Tourists, he worries, will get the impression that Darwin isn’t safe.

US gov’t: Americans should avoid Mexican hookers

The travel advisory is back. An increase in violence has led the U.S.-Mexico border has led the U.S. State Department to renew its warning to Americans heading south of the border. But, this doesn’t mean you should scratch Mexico from your list (I’m even heading down in a few weeks). You should just be careful.

The announcement suggests that American tourists stick only to legitimate business and tourist areas. Areas with lots of prostitution and drug dealing are best left off your itinerary, according to the State Department. This is pretty good advice anywhere, but it makes even more sense along a border where the bad guys have used weapons and grenades.

So, go to Mexico. Have fun. Just don’t pay for sex.