Is Dubai safe? Everything you need to know about safety in Dubai
Since the Arab Spring in 2011, people have remained cautious about security in Dubai and the Middle East. Admittedly, some countries, such as Yemen and Syria, continue to issue cautionary warnings to travelers.
But much of the region remains peaceful, and the United Arab Emirates is certainly one of them.
So, how safe is it to travel to the UAE? How safe is Dubai?
Crimes in Dubai
With vigilant police in Dubai and strict enforcement of the law, crime rates are generally low. Of course, this does not mean that you should not remain vigilant.
- Keep your belongings close at hand: always keep an eye on your belongings and don't leave them unattended. There are reports of accidental thefts.
- Beware of fraud. Perhaps the most common crime in Dubai is credit card fraud. Tourists are often approached by beggars or women with sick children asking for money.
- Beware of fake goods: There are also many cheap and counterfeit goods in local markets in Dubai that are sold at high prices to tourists, so check the quality before you buy.
In case of trouble, do not hesitate to ask for help. The police pay attention to any disregard for the law.
Most of the emergency operators speak different languages. Dubai has its share of expatriates, which exceeds the number of Arabic-speaking locals.
For example, English is widely spoken in Dubai. In particular, law enforcement officers and hotel employees speak both Arabic and English.
- 999 for the police
- 998 for the ambulance
- 997 for the fire station (Civil Defense)
- 996 for the Coast Guard
Transportation security in Dubai
Public transportation is easily accessible and you can travel quite freely. It is safe and controlled.
1. only use licensed cabs:
Cabs have colorful roofs to distinguish different companies. Many of these drivers are immigrants, and they speak many languages, so you are able to communicate easily.
In some cases, there are unlicensed cabs without meters that charge higher than usual. It is advisable to use only licensed cabs from registered companies during your trip.
2. Gender segregation in public transportation:
In Dubai, it is important to behave properly, especially with the opposite sex. On public transport, women are advised to occupy the front of the bus, which is reserved just for them.
Sometimes sitting next to a member of the opposite sex can be misconstrued as flirtatious behavior.
Note: Do not put your feet on the seats, as it is considered disrespectful.
3. do not compete with drivers on the road:
Road transportation is the main mode of transportation in Dubai, but it also has one of the highest accident rates. Drivers blatantly ignore speed limits and drive recklessly.
If you are a woman behind the wheel, they sometimes take you for granted and drive by without warning or direction. In such scenarios, it's best not to engage.
4. Keep spare parts on hand:
There are long stretches of road going in and out of Dubai that do not see any help. It is recommended that you travel with spare tires and other supplies for emergencies.
5. Choose safaris with experienced guides only:
Safety precautions also apply to desert safaris around Dubai. It is best to avoid such activities without an experienced guide.
Do some research online or talk to knowledgeable people verbally before using any tour operators, because some companies value profit more than safety.
Desert safaris can be dangerous without proper measures such as speed limits, seat belts, and safety gear when riding ATVs.
In recent years, there have been discussions about children on these trips because many tour operators do not have the proper safety equipment.
Safety for women and couples in Dubai
Dubai is a multicultural city, and for the most part, women are safe here. In most parts of the city there are separate counters and queues for women. You can walk the streets without worrying about possible threats.
Sexual harassment is admittedly still a problem, but there are very few instances where derisive language and appeals turn into any threatening action against women.
The Dubai Police are strict about sexual harassment, so threatening to call the police usually works against these harassers.
1. Women's clothing in Dubai:
Women can wear whatever they want. However, things like shorts, sleeveless tops in most areas of Dubai, especially in the popular tourist areas, are not decent.
Here it is not necessary to wear headdresses or veils. However, as an Islamic country, the locals are modest about their clothing.
You will be received more warmly if you respect the culture of the country and wear less revealing clothing so that the residents do not perceive you as disrespectful. Avoid clothing that is too revealing.
2. Nightlife for Women:
Dubai has a boiling nightlife with many pubs and nightclubs in major hotel chains. These places are generally safe for women, and you can freely enjoy drinks and night parties.
Violence against women:
Violence against women is very rare in Dubai, but that does not mean that it does not happen. In cases of sexual violence, the Dubai Police takes action very quickly.
4. Don't show your feelings in public:
Although Dubai welcomes tourists, public displays of affection remain problematic. Although holding hands and kissing on the cheek are socially acceptable, anything else is considered impolite. It draws unnecessary attention in public.
Alcohol and Drugs
1. liquor license:
Although the UAE is an Islamic country, alcohol is available in most major cities, and Dubai is no exception. Liquor licenses are available for non-locals, but if you are in the country on a tourist visa, it is not required.
In fact, these licenses are rarely checked. Keep in mind that they are not common in the Emirates, so an Abu Dhabi license will not work in Dubai.
2. public intoxication:
Public intoxication is not allowed. Alcohol consumption is allowed in licensed establishments (most often in bars and nightclubs in large hotel chains).
When you leave the hotel, take care to return to your cab, not to walk down the street. Any drunken behavior in public is not allowed. This also applies to drunk driving, as the police are very strict about it.
3. Alcohol consumption during Ramadan:
Strict rules regarding alcohol apply especially during the month of Ramadan. Alcohol is not served during fasting hours, nor are the loudest music and live performances. Holy days are dry days in Dubai.
4. Carry a prescription for your medicine with you at all times:
The UAE is known for its strict policies regarding drugs and controlled substances, including medications. Some common drugs containing codeine or diazepam (e.g., Valium) are banned without a doctor's prescription.
When traveling in Dubai, you must have your doctor's prescription with you if you are carrying medication. Tourists have been fined or denied entry into the UAE because of lack of prescriptions.
It is advisable to avoid bringing medications into the UAE unless absolutely necessary.
How open is Dubai to LGBT travelers?
Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai, and same-sex marriages are not recognized. Under Article 177 of the Dubai Penal Code, consensual sodomy can lead to up to 10 years in prison. This is commonly portrayed in the local media as related to diseases and sex crimes.
However, there is a hidden underground LGBT community in the country. As long as people do not display overt homosexual behavior or report it, there should not be much of a problem in Dubai.
But the police do not take harsh action against LGBT tourists visiting the country, as long as there is no overt behavior that might anger the locals.
As long as you remember these basic tips for safety in Dubai, the trip will go smoothly.
The city is fun, lively and full of energy. Stay alert and your trip will be unforgettable.