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Facing risks in Johannesburg

Regarding “New Shine on City of Gold” (Nov. 16): Former resident Ted Botha’s rosy picture of Johannesburg as a tourist destination was rather typical of many of my South African friends, who grossly understate the epidemic of crime that plagues the city and the country. This is not an issue to be marginalized. Before 2001, Johannesburg had a murder rate 16 times that of London, and one in 110 people was a victim of aggravated robbery with a firearm each year -- exponentially higher than any other place Americans are likely to travel.

I travel internationally on a regular basis, often to out-of-the-way places in developing nations where safety is a prudent concern. I can assure you, as does the State Department, South Africa is different. If you must visit Johannesburg, you should do so only with great fear and caution far beyond that of anywhere else you are likely to travel.

B. Chris Brewster

San Diego

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