How safe are Canadians abroad?

Canadians caught up in violent incidents in Mexico dominated headlines in recent weeks, but how dangerous is it? We look at the numbers.
 Check or uncheck the boxes to view statistics for specific countries.

Reports of Canadian tourists injured in Mexico have dominated the headlines recently.

In one case, a stray bullet struck a B.C. man at a market in the resort town of Mazatlan while a New Year's Eve celebration ended in an alleged gang rape

Then there was the story of a Mexican biker gang who beat a vacationing Montreal police officer  until he was "barely recognizable."

Five-year average

A look at 10 popular travel destinations and the five-year average of the number of Canadians assaulted or killed while visiting.

 Country  Incidents per 100,000 visits
 Cuba  1.5
 Dominican Republic  1.6
 India  7.5
 Italy  .8
 Jamaica  3.6
 Mexico  2.1
 Russia  3.2
 South Africa  5
 United Kingdom  0.3
 United States  0.03
 Worldwide  0.5

But what are the odds of Canadians encountering violence in Mexico, one of the most popular winter destinations, compared to other foreign locales?

In 2009, Canadians made more than 1.4 million trips to Mexico, a figure that includes both same-day and overnight travels, according to figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

That year, 14 Canadians were assaulted and three killed in Mexico, according to official reports.

Statistically, that equates to 1.2 incidents of death or violent assault for every 100,000 Canadian travellers to Mexico that year. The five-year average (from 2005 to 2009) is higher: 2.1 per 100,000.

Other common sun-seeker destinations rank slightly lower.

The Dominican Republic, for example, saw an average of 1.6 incidents of violence (assault or death) for every 100,000 travellers while Cuba stands at 1.5. Jamaica, however, is more than twice those averages, at 3.6 incidents per 100,000 travellers.

In total, Canadians took more than 52 million trips abroad in 2009. On average, about five Canadian travellers for every one million get assaulted or killed in foreign countries.

Among the safest destinations is also the most popular one: the United States.

The chance of being assaulted or killed when visiting south of the 49th parallel is far lower than the global average — three incidents for every 10 million visits. In 2009, that consisted of six assaults and seven deaths.

All statistics are based on figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Only assaults and deaths reported to the government are included.