A new travel advisory has been issued by Canada, warning its citizens about travel to the United States of America, its closet neighbour.
The travel advisory update comes, as urban safety across the United States becomes more compromised. In its latest advisory update, Canadians have been warned to beware of mass shootings in America.
As customary, Canada updated its travel advisory listings, which the Government maintains in order to track developments in foreign countries that may be relevant to Canadians flying abroad. This time, however, an additional note on the United States has drawn attention, other than the usual warnings against travel to certain Eastern European countries in the context of the Russo-Ukrainian War, and gang activity across the Caribbean region.
Random shootings in America
In the update, Canada explicitly mentions random shootings in America, due to a ‘high’ rate of firearm possession that is unusual among countries. As Ottawa notes, ‘it’s legal in many states for US citizens to openly carry firearms in public‘.
America’s controversial history of gun violence is well-documented with numerous reports of school shootings dating back to the 18th-century, and numerous other attacks carried out by armed citizens in public spaces where gun laws are less rigid. According to the Canadian Government, while tourists are ‘rarely involved’, there is still a risk they could find themselves ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’.
This means they should remain vigilant, and familiarise themselves on how to remain safe in these situations. In 2023 alone, there have been more than 200 mass shootings in the US, as confirmed by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.
These figures include both shootings taking place out in the open and inside homes and incidents in which ‘four or more’ people are injured or fatally injured.
Since 2020, there have been over 600 mass shootings on US soil.
Disproportionately high gun-related deaths
The warning isn’t unwarranted, also: as graphs depicted by The BBC show, gun-related deaths in the States are disproportionately high compared to its Western counterparts. In England and Wales, they make up for about four per cent of all homicides.
In Australia, 11 per cent. Canada’s significantly higher gun violence accounts for 40 per cent of deaths, but the America’s staggering 80.5 per cent clearly makes it the odd one out.
Gun ownership in the US is a contentious topic, and one that’s been politicised for years, but there is no denying the fact that gun violence seems to be more common in the North American country, as opposed to everywhere else.
Instead, Canadian visitors are urged to beware of crime in large urban centers, particularly in cities like St. Louis, named the most dangerous in America, where petty crime is rampant and violence perpetrated by gangs is widespread.
The rates of violent crime affecting tourists remain relatively low across the US, despite higher incidences in certain cities, such as San Francisco, the latest tourist destination hit by a crime wave.