I'm sure you are starting to engage in reading this article to find an answer as to how safe Ethiopia is and to possibly receive some advices on security and safety situations in this country. To sufficiently address the underlying question, Ethiopia is considered by many, including locals and tourists to be quite a safe and peaceful country. As a matter of fact one of the main reasons foreign investors establish their businesses here is for this particular reason.
The chance of you being a victim of a violent crime or attack is very low and rare in regard to the current situation and condition in the country. You should of course take the necessary precautions and try to be wary of your surrounding when walking through quiet and suspicious looking places during the day and especially during the night time.
If the destination you are visiting happens to be Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, you should feel safe especially walking through the streets of Bole or any other neighborhood during the night where there are federal polices roaming around or just standing at a corner .
I have been living in Addis Ababa for many years and I have never found myself in a situation where I was assaulted or threatened with a knife by gangs for money or other reasons. I actually don't think I've heard anyone I know who had experienced such an event.
This obviously doesn't mean that no one has faced such kinds of problems. I'm sure there maybe some level of crime in any country of the world. The only thing that differs among countries is the degree of violence and frequency of the crimes that occur on innocent civilians.
Based on my experience and people I know and according to the general opinions of the public the degree of violence of crimes on innocent civilians by thieves in Addis Ababa and most of the countries in Ethiopia could be considered low.
Pickpockets and Snatching
With all that said there are things you should be careful of. The main issue in Ethiopia and I'm going to assume in many other countries regarding crimes upon innocent civilians is probably pickpockets and snatching.
Earlier I have mentioned that I have never been subject to any kind of violent crime or been in a situation where thieves approached me and demanded money or any possessions I carried. In contrast to this several of my friends and families have had instances where they have been victims to successful or attempts of pickpockets or snatching.
Places on Red Alert for Pickpockets
In general there are certain places and situations in Addis Ababa where anyone is more vulnerable for being subject to pickpockets.
As you well know crowded places are breeding grounds for pickpockets. If you travel by public bus or via minibus taxi these could be primary places which open opportunities for robbers. When there are a lot of people waiting for these types of transports there would be scuffles to get into them when they suddenly become available in the midst of these eager and frustrated people. In these situations you should be wary of your surrounding and be more cautious of your belongings. It may be your handbag for a lady or your wallet for a man or any other item such as a cell phone you are carrying.
A recent trend the public is starting to catch on is pickpockets by some of the people who sell items from baskets hanging from their neck. While they are offering you items for purchase they might try to reach for your pockets, the basket providing a cover.
Another case to be cautious of is snatching. This could often occur on people talking on their phone and ladies carrying hand bags. This as you would guess could easily be prevented by holding on to your possessions properly and assessing your surroundings.
Night Security and Safety in Ethiopia
The best time for any criminal to practice any illegal activity is during the night. The night time is mainly characterized by spending time with friends out in the city. At such kinds of moments alcohol could be part of the package.
If one is a bit more intoxicated that it clouds one's judgment this is the time to be even more careful.
When traveling by a blue taxicab at night be careful not to forget your things in the cab or unintentionally leave your belongs in the cab.
There is a warning against a security risk in Ethiopia's border areas with Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Kenya and around Danakil Desert and Gambela areas.
As you probably would, if you plan to visit Ethiopia or any other country for that matter, refer to any relevant resources in this case about the security situations in any region of Ethiopia.
Summary and Tips
Much of what I have mentioned are basic cautions and tips intended to make a visitor more aware of the safety and security situations existing in Ethiopia. As you might have inferred from my notes Ethiopia for the most part is considered a peaceful country and anyone planning to visit this country will be welcomed with an open arm.
For your convenience I have listed the main tips and ideas you should take from my advices and discussions.
When around a crowded public transportation situation;
Of pickpockets from people selling items on a basket hanging from their necks;
When traveling by blue taxicabs at night; try not to leave your possessions in the cab;
Wear tighter jeans to make it hard for an otherwise easier pickpocket opportunity;
Try not to carry wallets when possible and just carry cash in pockets. This will make it harder for pickpockets.
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