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.)
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.