Several people are hitting the road for the holiday weekend and a retired Valley parole officer is one of those who is keeping tourists safe.
Nicholas Crowder has a website called TouristKilled.com.
The provocative name is meant to draw attention but it’s only a partial description of what you’ll find after logging on.
The website tracks news stories about the problems tourists face all over the world. Any time a traveler is hurt, killed, robbed, arrested, etc., it shows up on Crowder’s website.
“A lot of times individuals, when they go on a trip it's to have a good time, enjoy a new adventure [but] they leave their brains checked at home,” said Crowder. “[I want to] help people have a better situational awareness about where they're going.”
By aggregating all the negative news stories about any particular destination, Crowder hope to give travelers a full picture of the risks they may face. That includes local laws that may differ from the United States.
As an example, Crowder points to multiple news stories about tourists arrested in Germany for making Nazi “Heil Hitler” gestures – illegal in that country since the end of World War II.
“People who go to foreign countries, or even domestically, may not be really familiar with a certain area,” said Crowder.
His website even has information on Arizona that warns of hiker deaths on Camelback Mountain. There’s also a strong focus on the maladies in Mexico since it’s a top destination for American tourists.
Crowder said he's not trying to be a travel buzz-kill. In fact, he's been all over the world.
“Travel really does open you up, that's one of the reasons I love to travel, always learning something new,” said Crowder. “You should always want to travel, but be as safe as you can be."
Crowder is a retired parole officer, so his law enforcement mind sees safety first; fun in the sun second.
“I always figured the more I know about an area not only will I have a better time, but I may evade a catastrophe of some type.”
Crowder said he's proud his website is non-political and non-governmental.
It is worth noting that if you're traveling outside the country it is always a great idea to check U.S. Department of State safety warnings or check-in at American embassies.