Tourism and crime, whose problem? : a Cornish perspective
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Relating crime to tourism has seemingly been a taboo subject among tourism experts and researchers and it may be speculated, this is because crime is not a problem. Even fewer criminologists have thought to give the relationship a first, let alone a second glance and yet evidence exists which suggests that people on holiday are not only more likely to be victimised but are also routinely let down the criminal justice system. It is also likely that the breadth of the problem continues to grow as travel becomes increasingly routine for holidays, business and educational purposes. International Crime Victim Surveys which have existed since the latter part of the 1980s ask residents in a wide sweep of counties about their experiences of crime and subsequent support but there has not, to date been a similar exercise among visitor victims. This is in spite of research which has shown that while people who are victims of crime in their own locale are affected in a variety of ways, those who are similarly victimised while away from the familiar are doubly affected; they must deal with the issues relating to the actual crime and must do so without knowledge of their surroundings and the support of family and friends. As a result they may return home without resolving the emotional impact of the events. Thus negative impressions of the visit will be conveyed to family and Mends thus potentially deterdng them from visiting the same area. In view of the importance of tourism and the growth in travel to all corners of the world, failure to identify the risk of crime and its impact are serious omissions. This research therefore endeavours to begin to fill that gap through a detailed study in Cornwall in the southwest of England. This is a county which relies heavily upon tourism for its economic wellbeing and yet, data from a postal questionnaire to visitor victims suggested that little support was available in the event of a crime. This is, in part because the police often failed to note the status of the victim and, where they did, victims were less likely to be contacted by Victim Support than resident victims.
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