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Fun (and Arrests) Abroad

Sub_comandancia.jpg Here's hoping that you, gentle World Almanac reader, have never and will never find yourself in a jail somewhere contemplating the following statistics:

Top 10 Cities Abroad by Number of American Citizens Arrested in 2006
  1. Tijuana, Mexico: 520
  2. Guadalajara, Mexico: 416
  3. Nuevo Laredo, Mexico: 359
  4. London, U.K.: 274
  5. Mexico City, Mexico: 208
  6. Toronto, Canada: 183
  7. Nassau, Bahamas: 108
  8. Mérida, Mexico: 99
  9. Nogales, Mexico: 96
  10. Hong Kong, China: 90

The U.S. Dept. of State supplied these figures at the request of the Los Angeles Times. Relying on reports from more than 290 cities worldwide, the State Department put the number of Americans citizens arrested abroad at 4,456 in 2006, up from 3,614 in 2005. It warned, however, that the numbers might not be comprehensive because they're provided by foreign governments and families of those arrested. Nor did the department give any detailed information on individual arrests.

State officials did tell the L.A. Times that arrests frequently occur at border checkpoints in Canada and Mexico, when American citizens are caught with alcohol, drugs, and guns. The State Department's own Special Warning About Drug Offenses Abroad states, "Every year, several hundred Americans are arrested abroad on drug charges."

Possibly more ominous than these arrest figures was this sentence in the L.A. Times article: "(The department declined to release any figures on how many Americans are incarcerated or where.)" For more information about arrests in the U.S., broken down by race, refer to page 114 of the newly released World Almanac 2008.

"Arrested Abroad: A Rare Glimpse of Trips Gone Wrong" (L.A. Times)
Assistance to U.S. Citizens Arrested Abroad (U.S. Dept. of State)

Photo by eoshea, in which the photographer's friend was nearly arrested in Cabo, Mexico, for running a red light.


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