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Dear Reema Kamat,
  How are you... I have another article for you... this time... It's just a 
simple conversation I had with one of my Kuwaiti friends... and thought it a 
good idea to write about it...
  Here's the article:
  A Kuwaiti friend of mine said to me the other day, "Goa used to be very 
safe, with no crime and tourists felt safe. But, unfortunately the crime rate 
is climbing! I don’t know what causes it. Is it due to the many poor people 
who have begun to enter into the state through the many means of cheap 
transport made available by trains and buses or due to the Street Trader or 
the locals themselves?" Here's what I shared with her…
  I do agree with you that, of late, Goa seems to be receiving some 
unfavourable publicity due to several tourists being robbed and murdered! 
Although Goa does not have a high crime rate and is still relatively safe for 
anyone exercising common sense, yet, I can't help but say, "Tourists do 
attract criminals and con artists, like dogs attract fleas!" 
  You see, it couldn't be the Goan people who have started to commit the 
crimes, because Goans are friendly and helpful. I'm not saying this because I 
too am Goan, but because it's a known fact!  If you try to speak a little 
Goan, they will appreciate and try hard to communicate with you. The Goan 
culture is different from the culture in the whole of India. Many Goans are 
desperately poor, but even then, the vast majority would not resort to crime! 
In fact, Goan society tends to look after the unfortunate and families are 
known to stick together and help their family members.
  For those who say, "It's due to the Street Traders." They could be right, 
but, sending street traders off the street will amount to denying many of them 
of their source of livelihood. I remember once asking a little boy, "Where's 
your mother?" He pointed his small little finger towards a direction and 
said, "She's there." I felt so terrible for that little boy and I said, "Then 
why are you standing here in the heat and selling these fruits?" And he looked 
at me with those cute little eyes of his and said, "I have to help my mother!" 
I ended up not buying anything from that sweet little boy. Instead, I gave him 
some money and in return, he gave me a huge smile! 
  My friend kind of agreed with me about the street traders and I clarified 
that point too! If street traders should be moved off the street, it wouldn't 
be because they are a nuisance, but to put order to a previously unmanageable 
and messy state! For example, the Candolim area is full of shelters covering 
most of the pavements with no walking space for pedestrians! This only serves 
as a nuisance! So, in my opinion, I don't think street traders are a nuisance. 
Why? Because they sell things at a cheaper rate and more available as one can 
get things on the way home. The only thing the government should do is give 
them a central place where they can sell their goods because if they are 
chased from the streets where will they go? They are the people who will start 
beating other citizens to look for income. A central market could be regulated 
by the government to prevent its abuse. Street traders close to the roads and 
pavements should, however, be prohibited and some kind of
 order and regulation is needed.
  She continued to be negative about the street traders saying, "But, don't 
you agree with me when I say that the street traders are not a tourist 
attraction?" I replied her, "Yes, you are right! They are a poverty stricken 
people trying to earn money to feed themselves and their families." She 
continues, "Whenever I visit India, I am bathed by them, and yes they do test 
your patience!" I know exactly what she meant and I said, "They sure do test 
your patience, but, don't you see the desperation in their eyes? They just 
need to sell their goods in order to survive! If you ask me, I would rather 
buy some beautiful handmade jewellery or deliciously fresh fruit and 
vegetables from the street trader at virtually and literally a cheaper price 
than enter a glazed window seller, where I would end up paying double!!!!" She 
was kind of taken aback at what I said, but at the same time, she didn't 
comment any further!
  I continued with my explanation to her about crimes in Goa and how it could 
be prevented… 
  I know that each of us is responsible for our own actions and that tourist's 
should be alert at all times, because they meet hundreds of strangers with 
either pure or un-pure thoughts. It all depends on the image the tourist 
presents. But, sometimes, tourists seem distracted, lost, in need of 
assistance or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time! With alcohol, drugs 
and basically just having a good time, tourists tend to think they are with 
cool cats, when they really are among wolves! Even pleasant encounters with 
the locals in bars can lead to loss of rupees, if one doesn't stay in control! 
Crimes usually take place when the perpetrator thinks he can overcome the 
tourist's better judgement! 
  Criminals know where, when and how to find tourists. And they know exactly 
what to say to them. They're nice. They'll ask you where you're from-and then 
jack you up for your wallet, camera and jewelry! You'll then have to leave 
town or spend all day at the police station filing a report. You'll have to 
rebook airline tickets and then have to use your VISA or Master card. Chances 
are, you'll never be back to file a charge or testify! 
  My advice, be sober, don't move around with valuable items, instead, travel 
light and never leave money or valuables in your hotel room. Prevent 
opportunities like, fat purses bulging out of pockets, zippers on back packs 
as they are "Rob me" signs and most of all, trust no one! Do not venture into 
dangerous neighbourhoods, especially after dark!
  Tourists visiting Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature 
of the Goan people. After all, where on earth can one really relax? So, let's 
help in keeping Goa safe and crime free, that it may not loose it's beauty! I 
guess not holding the Indian Nationality any longer, doesn't give me the right 
to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway! I think in order to stop further 
crimes and robberies to tourists coming to Goa, the Indian Authorities should 
work to develop a Smart Border  that securely facilitates the flow of people, 
entering Goa from a different state!

If you judge people, you have no time to love them! 

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