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Tourism and crime It is not uncommon for those who depend on tourism for a living to disregard or downplay factors likely to have negative effects on destination attractiveness and industry

Tourism and crime It is not uncommon for those who depend on tourism for a living to disregard or downplay factors likely to have negative effects on destination attractiveness and industry profitability. However, this 'ostrich' approach ignores the need to maintain awareness of threats and to develop measures to counter or amelio- rate them in the interests of sustainability. We have noted that concern with per sonal security is a major factor in the travel choices made by individuals. During the 1990s the much-publicised activities of criminals in Florida and of terrorists in Egypt demonstrated that the perception of a destination as unsafe is immediately reflected in declining visitor numbers. The problem is complicated, however, by evidence suggesting there is a causal link between tourism and crime (for example, Kelly 1993; Prideaux 1996). Criminal activities associated with tourism include: • offences committed by tourists illegal services meeting demands generated by tourists offences committed against tourists • offences relating to the growth and development of tourist-dependent areas. Offences committed by tourists indude vandalism, drug abuse and disorderly behaviour (often associated with excessive alcohol consumption). The most aggressive tourist is probably the European football hooligon' who travels in support of a local team. Similar but generally less extreme behaviour is associ- ated with certain hallmark events such as music festivals and motorcycle rallies, and is sometimes accepted by the local community because of the financial inputs generated. It is argued that these behaviours are attributable to peer group cohesiveness and exclusivity, values that justify excessive drinking, violence and casual sex, freedom from the restraints of home; expectations of a good time', and activity settings (such as pubs and discos) with which such tror ellers are familiar. The second category again relates to the removal of home based inhibitions, the relative anonymity of the traveller, and the ability to fund such activities as drug use and trafficking, prostitution, poedophilia and gambling. Even where such activities are not illegal, travellers render themselves vulnerable to kidnap ping and extortion. However, the offences that contribute most to security fears are those of the third category-crimes that involve injury to persons and damage to or loss of property. They include homicide, assault, robbery, burglary, rape, car theft, arson and embezzlement. A number of studies, including some conducted in Florida and Hawaii (Chesney-Lind & Lind 1986), indicate a positive correlation between an increase in tourism and the level of offences against persons and property Nonetheless, the occurrence of crime probably relates to factors other than the level of tourism development and the presence of tourists. For example, on Page 1 14
analysis of statistics on crime in Queensland in 1991 demonstrated a strong correlation between population size and the number of offences detected. How ever, as figure 8.1 shows, when total offences are regressed against population variables, Cairns, Brisbane and the Gold Coast all show offence frequencies well above the levels commensurate with their populations. Figure 8.1 Queensland Police districts: offences total by population, 1991 Gold Coast 36 000 Brisbane 24 000 Cairns Number of offences 12000 60000 120 000 180 000 240000 300000 Population Source: Data provided by Queensland Police Service, Annual Report, 1992 The search for explanation What explanations can be offered for the over-representation of criminal octivity in tourist destinations Nettler (1978) refers to criminogenic conditions' - circumstances contributing to criminal activities, which include: . movements of people, creating conditions in which conflict may stem from a dash of cultures • crowding beyond a certain level of tolerance social mobility • relative deprivation • child neglect and youth abuse, contributing to low self-esteem • the influence of mass media, acting to weaken ties with local community cul- ture and providing inappropriate role models • the influence of drugs and alcohol in reducing inhibitions • the absence of authoritative control. Several of these contributory factors are present in tourist destinations. Cul ture clash is sometimes likely to occur. Crowding in key areas and recreational settings may cause antagonism in the local community. Barriers to social mobility are deliberately blurred in destinations, as part of the measures taken to enhance traveller status. The apparent offluence of tourists can contribute to feelings of erwy among the host community. JERRURIER
Both the Gold Coast and Cairns experience above-average levels of moli- cious damage, a non-predatory offence bringing no material gain to the per petrator. It is possible that such behaviour illustrates Doxey's Tourist Irritation Index (Doxey 1975), which describes the stages (euphoria, apathy, irritation and antagonism) through which host community reactions move as its identity becomes threatened by tourism. There have been reports of dissatisfaction in both regions over the focus on service for Japanese visitors and the perceived dominance of the local tourism industry by Japanese business interests. However, other factors are probably operating in the two Queensland destin- otions. The police districts do not correspond exactly with the tourist destin- ations, and contain areas and population mixes largely unaffected by tourism. In addition, the prominence of drug offences may relate in part to the presence of alternative lifestylers' drawn to these locations by the attractive settings and the hospitable climate. There may be a correlation between unemployment and crime rates, given the large numbers of unemployed young people enjoying the leisure-oriented lifestyle or seeking casual employment in these centres. Notwithstanding the above, the single factor basic to all criminal activity is opportunity. Tourists present tempting targets because they are not known in the local community, they are highly visible because of their appearance and behar jour, they unwittingly visit risky places, and they may indulge in risk-taking activi- ties such as drug-taking or accepting the company of strangers. They frequently carry large sums of money and valuable items such as comeras, and may leave these unattended in cars or on a beach. Not surprisingly, there is some evidence that crime rates vary along with seasonal fluctuations in visitation There may also be a perception that the risk of detection and apprehension of offenders is lower in tourist destinations. The offender may leave the area before an offence is reported; the victim may not be available throughout the investigation; incidents may remain unreported because of embarrassment or a reluctance to become involved with the police. The statistics indicated a difference between the Gold Coast and Caims with respect to the types of offences committed (Kelly 1993). While Cairns ranked higher for crimes of violence, the Gold Coast was marked more by crimes against property, such as froud. These distinctions may be partially explained by climatic factors, given the evidence that crimes of violence increase with climatic tempero- ture and the associated leisure activities, including the consumption of alcohol. There may also be a higher level of resentment in Cairns associated with the relatively recent and rapid development of tourism, the high level of foreign own ership and concern about threats to the valued rainforest and Barrier Reef environments. The Gold Coast community, on the other hand, is less dependent on natural environment resources, and is much further along the curve of Butler's tourism area life cycle (TALC) model, suggesting that its residents have become occustomed to and more accepting of the presence of tourists. Newspaper reports have attributed the relative sophistication of Gold Coast criminals to the presence of organised crime associated with drug trafficking and money laundering, the acceptance of questionable business practices associated with real-estate speculation and time-share promotion, and the
presence of a casino. The situation should be monitored to ascertain whether or not the types of criminal activity common in the Gold Coast become character istic of Coirs as it evolves, and ultimately of the Sunshine Coast, rapidly emerging as Queensland's third major tourist destination Management implications A proportion of the offences committed in tourist destinations may be eliminated by general improvements in social welfare, reduced unemployment rates and rising living standards. An increased police presence and harsher penalties may have some additional impact. Criminal activity torgeting tourists may also be reduced by measures, avait- able to industry participants, that make tourists less visible and less vulnerable. For example, the signs distinguishing rental vehicles from those owned by resi- dents can be removed, making it more difficult to identify visitors. Accommodo tion operators can help by ensuring guest security, providing safe storage facilities and delivering advice to visitors on the protection of themselves and their property Marketing strategies may be amended to focus on family and group travel- lers, since these visitors are less likely to move about the destination alone or to indulge in risk-taking behaviour. It may also be necessary to avoid promotion practices that communicate unrealistic expectations about the friendliness and hospitality of destination inhabitants. However, it is submitted that the most generally effective protective measures will be those which ensure that local residents have no reason to be hostile to tourists, and which encourage a community view of tour ists as guests to be treated with core, kindness and courtesy. The sus- tainability of a regional economy, in which tourism constitules on important part of the economic bose, may depend on general recog nition that the welfare interests of the community and of the visitors are not mutually exclusive, but are in fact dosely interrelated (Kelly 1993:11). Questions 1 Are tourism authorities acting unethically when they ignore or under state the incidence of crime in their destination regions? 2 What are the arguments for and against the following proposals? • that an additional charge be imposed on tourists to pay for a stronger police presence in tourist destinations • that persons convicted of crimes against tourists be given more severe sentences. UNTUK
You are expected to: write a brief summary of the case study, conclusion and recommendations and answer all the questions.

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