Paris was having a rough year even before masked gunmen broke into Kim Kardashian’s apartment and robbed her of more than $10 million worth of jewels: Following the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan terrorist attacks last year, the City of Lights has been a city of increased terror threats, crime concerns, and, as a result, decreased tourism.
“What happened [to Kardashian] is very unfortunate and those responsible must be severely punished," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told TV5 Monde. "We are fully mobilized to ensure the safety of the French people, as well as all those who visit France, and in particular tourists."
Even though Paris and France overall does not necessarily have a heightened risk profile compared to many other countries in the world — consider Afghanistan and Syria for instance — recent incidents such as the terror attacks last year and Kim's robbery have left travelers wondering what more they can do to ensure a safe trip.
Jim Krampen, co-founder of travel protection company Seven Corners, advised anyone traveling to Paris, “Be cognizant of your surroundings, do not publicize your specific location or high[ly] valuable items via social media, and make sure close friends or family members are aware of your travel schedule.” That’s a good idea anywhere you go, but especially if it’s an area where you are currently feeling a bit nervous.
Paris has a history of being one of the most beautiful and visited countries in the world, but between terrorism and crime, is that changing?
Reuters reports the city's visitors fell 6.4 percent in the first half of 2016, and many Asians and Americans are staying away. Part of that could be a PR problem.
"We worry about the image of Paris," said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, head of the conservative opposition in Paris, according to a Reuters report. "This will be all over the news channels — imagine the negative publicity."
Unless the U.S. embassy issues a travel advisory, whether or not you keep Paris on your itinerary is still completely up to you and your personal comfort zone. “Of course the climate has changed in Paris, as it has with most of the world — but education is your best friend,” says safety and security expert Bill Stanton. Do your research, and use common sense.
Then dig deep and consider what works for you — which may be different from your friends or neighbors based on individual risk-aversion profiles. “I might be fine traveling there, while another person feels uncomfortable based on the data or the circumstances — but I am not [an expert who would advise] no, stay home," Stanton says. "Crime inevitably happens worldwide."
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