Be careful in Florida

Attacks on tourists in Florida have decreased, but violent crime remains a serious concern in the Sunshine State, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ latest report on Florida. Canadians should continue to exercise “great caution” while travelling in Florida, as criminals have shown they will use violence with little or no provocation. Many attacks have occurred in the Miami area, with others occurring on rural roads and at interstate highway rest areas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) advises motorists to look for rest areas which have dusk to dawn security on site, indicated on the highway sign. Canadians are still warned to “proceed cautiously, especially after dusk, when exiting from a freeway (including Interstate 95) into large urban centres.”

According to DFAIT, Canadians visiting Florida should exercise all the precautions they would normally take when visiting areas of the United States experiencing crime problems. DFAIT offers some other helpful tips:

  • given uncertain weather conditions (such as the storms which hit central Florida in February 1998)
  • leave your itinery – and phone numbers with family and/or friends in Canada.
  • never start a journey by car unless you know the precise route
  • remain on well-travelled, and well-lit, streets and highways
  • restrict driving to daylight hours
  • avoid using interstate highway rest stop areas unless they provide security and, instead, use convenience facilities at service stations, restaurants, or fast food outlets
  • if lost, do not stop along the roadside but proceed to a location (e.g. police or service station) where help will be available
  • arrive by air before evening