According to the Ecuadorian national police, all levels of crime have increased throughout the country in the last year, with violent crime becoming a part of everyday life. Crimes against U.S. diplomatic personnel or U.S. citizens are reported almost daily, with the most crime occurring in tourist centers and on public transportation. Ecuadorian police have identified the highest crime areas for tourists: in Quito, these are Old Quito, Mariscal Sucre District, and Carolina Park; in Guayaquil, they are the southern areas of the city, especially between Avenida 9 de Octubre and the Port Authority. Public transportation, other than metered yellow taxis, should be avoided. Political protests and violent demonstrations could occur at any time because the government is ineffectual and its policies have put added economic pressure on Ecuadorians, some 70 percent of whom are impoverished. Strikes occur often and are unpredictable in their intensity and duration. Many times they block major highways throughout the country.