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General Dubai Info

Is Dubai Safe?

Is Dubai Safe?

Yes, in most circumstances Dubai is significantly safer than Western cities.

This article will examine why, and will let you know the situations in which you could find yourself in a tricky situation.

Why Dubai is Safe

Much like Singapore, Dubai is a modern city-state with ambitions to be one of the most attractive places to visit or live. Unlike the “revolving door” system in the West, low-level crime is not tolerated.

Despite having a large migrant worker population from poor countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, harsh punishments – including the lash, long sentences, deportation, and the death penalty – act as a deterrent. Casual thieves quickly realize that any brush with the law in Dubai can result in being imprisoned for a month or more before your case even gets to a hearing.

Most of the stories about Western tourists ending up in a Dubai jail stem from their failure to realize that misbehavior overlooked at home is taken seriously here. For example, whereas shops in most European cities can no longer get the police to bother arresting shop-lifters, acting like that in Dubai will quickly put an end to the nice part of your vacation.

So, much like Singapore, you should immediately feel safe as you walk around Dubai. You will come across poverty in some districts, but there is always a sense of order and security. I enjoy walking at night and have walked all over the city with never any sense of feeling threatened. Try that in London.

Possible Danger in Dubai

Of course, there are cultural and legal quirks that can leave you vulnerable in Dubai. For example, drinking alcohol or engaging in extramarital sex is highly illegal here. Scammers can take advantage of this. For example, if you are mugged while consorting with a prostitute, or while in pursuit of gay sex, you cannot really go to the police.

For more info on Dubai’s strict laws around not just sexual acts but, also, public displays of affection, read our article Is it true you can be arrested for kissing in Dubai?

For more info on Dubai’s somewhat different take on LGBT rights, read our article Can I be Gay in Dubai?

Walking around visibly drunk is also likely to attract predators. Dubai has some strange rules around causing offense, so, someone can accuse you of causing them offense without having to provide witnesses. It is your word against there and, if you have any alcohol in your blood at that time, your word is worth nothing.

For more info on Dubai’s distinctly non-Irish attitude towards alcohol, read our article Can I Drink Alcohol in Dubai?

Scammers long ago learned how to “hack” these quirks in Dubai’s system and make a good living by preying upon foreigners who have failed to fully comprehend that they must act differently here.

So, if you are coming to Dubai for some shopping and wholesome tourist activities, you will be fine. As with any country, avoid over-friendly strangers who insist on engaging with you. Exercise common sense and you will be fine.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for adventures on the edge, or exotic travel thrills, skip Dubai and head to South East Asia. There, you will still get ripped off but the process will be far more enjoyable.

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