View Full Version : How does the crime in Manila, Philippines compare with Chicago's?

05-12-2005, 08:25 PM
I've tried but I can't find a really good violent crime rate for Manila, I found one for something like 1990 that wasn't very statistical, does anyone know a good source?

I'm interested in how it compares to Chicago especially. Violent crimes, theft, rape, etc.

I'm gonna guess it's quite a bit higher but I'd love it if it wasn't.

05-12-2005, 08:37 PM
I would venture to say Manila is probably safer than Chicago. I would say probably most cities in the world have less crime than major US cities, on a per capita basis.

From what statistics I could find, there were only 494 reported murders in Manila in 2003 (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2004/jan/14/yehey/metro/20040114met1.html), which has a population of 10-13 million. Meanwhile, in 2003, Chicago had 599 homicides, with a population of under 3 million. You can do the math.

05-12-2005, 08:54 PM
Thanks a lot, pulykarnell. Some worry-wort I know was telling me they're worried about me going to Manila, but apparently I'm 4x less likely to be murdered, per capita. :)

05-12-2005, 09:10 PM
Thanks a lot, pulykarnell. Some worry-wort I know was telling me they're worried about me going to Manila, but apparently I'm 4x less likely to be murdered, per capita. :)

I have a close friend who's lived there for a few years. I can ask him about it tomorrow. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some other Dopers chime in with their experiences in the mean time. If I had to guess, you'd probably have to worry more about property crime than violent crime in the Philippines.

And to interject a little IMHO, the only big city I've been in that felt more dangerous than Chicago (and I'm not particularly scared of Chicago, it being my hometown), is Johannesburg. I think that sometimes we as Americans overestimate the safety of our cities.

05-12-2005, 09:23 PM
Yeah, I live on the southside and have been outright mugged once and intimidated into "donating" money to someone another time, and hearing gunshots isn't at all uncommon.

When I went to visit a friend in Oakland, I was amazed out how much safer I felt than just walking home here. I've never felt any American city was rougher than the rough parts of Chicago, though I did feel worried about some parts of Mexico.

05-13-2005, 07:07 AM
I don't have access to stats, but the Filipino ones would be useless anyway.

Manila has a lot of violent crime. A few murders a day are always in the paper. Nearly every business establishment beyond a mom n pop store - even Goldilocks Cake Shops - has an armed guard or three. Banks all have signs saying 'check in firearms', and a squad of guys in slovenly uniforms wielding among them a shotgun, a rifle and a couple of pistols. The 7-Elevens all have a uniformed doorman with a 45 revolver.

What Manila does not have is dependable emergency services. Police cars - such as they are - lack radios or even doors. And the cops are corrupt. (Hmmm... Chicago used to be the same, didn't it - but it must have improved.) So Manila people have to look after themselves. And labour is dirt cheap, so hiring guards is a relatively small overhead.

I know people there who've been held up by guys with M16s. (Probably off-duty soldiers.)

So my guess is that Chicago is actually safer. But most Westerners going to MNL would stick to the orderly districts. So an out of town visitor staying in nice hotels, etc would perhaps be safer than in Chicago.

How about Johannesburg??

05-13-2005, 10:55 AM
Well, I spoke with my friend, and he says Manila can be fairly dicey, due to the poverty rates (around 50% by his guess). He says the murder rates aren't particularly bad, and the kidnappers tend to shy away from Westerners because those kidnappings get looked into. Muggings are mainly what you need to be worried about. And, for the record, he lived there three years and has never had problems himself except almost being pick-pocketed a couple of times.

As always, stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings, but in all my time abroad (over 6+ years), I've never been a victim of crime, whereas in Chicago I've had my garage broken into twice, and two car stereos stolen, in about the same time period. I think you'll be fine.

simple homer
05-13-2005, 12:26 PM
I was recently reading that 50% of Filipinos live on less than $2 a day, so yes, poverty is pretty bad here.
site: http://news.inq7.net/mobile/html_output/20050513-36836.xml.html

Most Filipinos are non-confrontational, so you probably will never experience violent crime, but almost anything left unattended will probably be stolen.
Most of the violent crimes seem to occur late at night at the karaoke bars when the locals get drunk. It would probably be wise to never drink with the locals, that is when most murders seem to occur, and they would expect you to pay for everything, so I never do sit down and drink with them.
The police seemed to be involved in a lot of the murders here also. Someone insults their singing while they are caterwauling to "my way" and they turn around and shoot them. Davao and Cebu both have vigilante groups that hunt down and kill petty criminals. The vigilantes are suspected to be the police, and they actually have the support of the mayors in both Davao and Cebu.
Anyway, most of the violent crime occurs among the locals while they are drinking.
I avoid the drinking locals, and I fell safer here than I do in America

The reason for all the security guards is that you will probably never see the police. The police here are typically sitting in the police station sleeping and gambling, they only react to calls for action, you never see them out patrolling.