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Phuket Opinion: Bad news is good for you

PHUKET: In last week’s editorial, we dared to assert that Phuket is no more dangerous than most other popular international destinations – that the biggest threat to visitors and residents in “paradise”, is themselves, particularly those who forget or fail to apply “common sense” and “street smarts”.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 24 January 2016, 08:45AM

A Phuket policeman looks on as a young man receives hospital treatment after being shot with a pen gun. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A Phuket policeman looks on as a young man receives hospital treatment after being shot with a pen gun. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Though wide agreement was expressed through social media, a few readers disagreed and even took offense to our assertion. Notably, one reader accused us of “white-washing” reality, and another went as far to infer that we were paid to write the article, which they claimed was not based in any fact or statistics.

Firstly, we don’t deny that traffic-specific dangers pose dire safety concerns in Phuket, which we continue to cover extensively. However, last week’s editorial was specifically focused on violent crimes – homicide, assault, muggings and rape. 

Furthermore, we never claimed that Phuket is free of violent crime, and in fact the headline ‘Phuket is no safe haven for the vulnerable’ itself implies that the island can be very dangerous, but for certain types of people. Moreover, we were not paid or pressured by the Thai government or anybody else to write the article.

Finally, we do have statistics to back up our assertion that Phuket is a relatively safe international destination when it comes to violent crime.

According to the Royal Thai Police, in 2014 there were 28 cases of homicide reported in Phuket i.e. 20 murders + eight manslaughter cases. (See here).

And based on estimates from available waste and immigration data that there are about one million people residing in Phuket at any given time, we can extrapolate that Phuket's homicide rate in 2014 was 2.8 per 100,000.

The rates for attempted murder, rape and assault are 4.8, 2.6 and 17.2, respectively. Based on this, one could argue that you are statistically 10 times more likely to be murdered on a holiday to the Bahamas, Mexico or Brazil, or three times more likely to be killed in the Philippines. (See here.)

Likewise, one might also assert that a woman is 20 times more likely to be raped in Stockholm than Phuket. (See here and here.)

But The Phuket News recognises that there are potential pitfalls when making such statistical inferences, as there are a number of factors that should be taken into account, namely, unreported and misreported cases, differing definition criteria (manslaughter vs death as a result of negligence, for example), and so on.

And our aim is not to try and paint an unrealistic picture of Phuket so readers let their guard down in Phuket, but the opposite: show them reality so they will be forewarned, and hence forearmed.

In sum, by taking the time to read local news, and understanding the nature of violence and victims, you will be safer, much safer.



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Kurt | 26 January 2016 - 20:15:33

Phuket island is the same size as of the city state Singapore.

I don't know where the figure of 1 million Phuket inhabitants come from, but that is a funny fake figure. 
Simply because the Phuket government does not know how many thai are living/working on the island unregistered, coming from everywhere in Thailand to work on Phuket.

But ok, about 1 million on Phuket, compare with the a...

Rorii | 26 January 2016 - 13:26:11

Tinkerbell, where do you get your "statistics" from, to justify your comment. Phuket is a small island, not a large Island, or a country, if we look at a place compatible, in population, we could look at Western Australia, larger in size, so one would suspect  a higher death road toll , due to longer journeys, however, if WA was to experience the same road toll, the same "suicide&qu...

Tinkerbell | 25 January 2016 - 12:53:38

So many people talk about how bad the world today is, and how times have changed. But statistically we live in a very safe time and place. Chances that you are assaulted or killed while going along your daily business are very small. I get really tired of the negative people trying to talk unrealistic fear into others.
And, yes, traffic could be improved upon. NO to drinking and driving!

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