[Edited to include actual answer:]
Safety is relative. Think about which person is more likely to commit a crime:
- an Airbnb host, whose name, address, and photograph are inextricably linked with with the victim
- one of the hundreds of hotel employees, who are wholly anonymous to the victim, who may not even be in the country legally or working under their own name, and who can disappear at any moment
Is Airbnb totally completely safe? No. Is Airbnb safer than a hotel or hostel? Almost certainly and by a large margin.
[Original rant follows:]
It really amazes me how people latch on to anything.
Yes, if you don't actually stay at a property, you can't leave a review. I suppose in the bizarre case that a place is so gross, you refuse to even use it, you personally cannot complain, but there must be other reviewers who, lacking anywhere else to go, brave a single night and then tell the world.
Yes, Airbnb will not disclose a guest's name and location to random callers, even if that caller produces a wildly improbable story (that still hasn't been verified).
Five years ago, a chambermaid named Nafissatou Diallo claimed that French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn raped her at the Sofitel New York Hotel. The DA did not move forward with the prosecution because of credibility problems with the witness.
It was world-wide news, but absolutely no one has said anything like:
- "Oh, the Sofitel is dangerous, that's where employees get raped."
- "Oh, the Sofitel is dangerous, that's where employees make false rape allegations."
- "Oh, hotels in general are dangerous, because employees get raped or make false rape allegations."
In fact, many thousands of people a year get raped in hotels, even the Sofitel. I don't know how many false rape accusations are made, but I'm sure that happens too. Rooms are burglarized, fires break out, sometimes whole hotels burn to the ground, with their guests inside.
Nonetheless, no one blames it on hotels in general. Because it is obviously not their fault.
Why is Airbnb any different?
[Plus some more ranting for good measure:]
Here are the most common (by far) causes of death of Americans overseas:
- drug/alcohol use
- traffic accident
What do those three things have in common? Well, two things.
First, they are all your own fucking fault. Don't want to die? Don't drink, don't shoot yourself, and look both ways before you cross the goddamn street.
More pertinently, nobody ever asks about them. I'm on all sorts of travel sites and people ask questions like "Is Airbnb safe?" or "Is [some perfectly safe place] safe for a woman traveling alone?"
Worry about real problems.