Safety & Security

Of all of the factors that add to or detract from the attractiveness of any destination, Security was one of the most important to our expert group. However, as we dug deeper, it seems that it’s not as simple as just the potential for staying alive or risk of being robbed.

The notion of being safe and secure is radically different for every individual, as were the levels of tolerance for risk, within each of the descriptions we received.  For some being safe is the ability to walk around at night without any anxiety. For others it’s having close proximity to advanced medical care. Some people just want to know that their stuff is safe.  Flipped on its head, lack of safety for one individual may be interpreted as an adrenaline rush for another.

A compromise that many Global Lifestylers have to make is that the cities or spaces that are most attractive to us because of their amenities, are also ones with higher crime rates due to their denser populations and a competitive ‘dog-eat-dog’ mindset. New York is a perfect example. Widely accepted as one of the most inspiring and invigorating cities in the world, New York is also a city where something, if not tied down, will walk. On the other hand, the density of the population, whilst increasing the risk of petty crime including laptop and mobile phone theft, also offers a sense of security as there are so many eyes and ears on the street. Often people feel safer walking the streets of Manhattan at 2am than they would do in a much smaller provincial town.

Another issue we face as we move from base to base, is that the rules, and subsequent appropriate behaviours of each destination, can be fundamentally different. In rural or coastal New Zealand where we have been based for the past month, doors are left wide open and keys are left in the ignition of cars. Arriving here with a New York mindset, we find ourselves double-checking that doors are locked and mobile phones and sunglasses are well hidden despite these behaviors being quite unnecessary. Some habits are much harder to shake than others.

There is also something to be said for confidence resulting from pure naivety. In contrast to the point made above, taking a ‘safe and secure’ mindset from a previous destination can relieve us of the anxiety experienced even by the local population as we are blissfully aware of what we might be getting ourselves into. That said, it generally takes just one incident to set this straight.

Our perceptions regarding the safety and security of any city or location are based on a combination of facts and myths, often resulting in misconceptions and assumptions that cloud our expectations.

As is described in the Capacity of the Creative Brain article, until our fundamental needs – food, shelter, safety – are satisfied we cannot focus on more creative or productive tasks. With this in mind, regardless of your definition and levels of tolerance of safety and security, you can only function at 100% once you feel at ease in any location.

It seems logical therefore that if you are prone to feeling anxious in certain types of places, you should either avoid them all together, or less drastically, seek information from peers and other sources you respect and trust, which can remove any ill-founded assumptions.

For governments and authorities looking to attract Global Lifestylers, do not underestimate the importance of the perceived safety and security of your city or region. Resources should be allocated towards fixing any breaches in these areas and informing visitors regarding any precautions they should take to maximise the enjoyment and subsequent productivity of their stay.

For everyone out there, a small dose of common sense goes a really long way.