Is Dubai safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Dubai is a diverse international city full of surprises and boasts many superlatives. It is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one of the world’s most famous cities, receiving tens of millions of visitors each year. Its sophisticated mix of old-world charm and extravagant luxury facilities continues to draw in visitors worldwide who want to indulge in delicious feasts, shop in exclusive designer malls, and gaze upon the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
With its large expat population, Dubai has become a melting pot in the Middle East. There’s a rich Arabic culture but also a tolerant atmosphere where everyone is welcome and encouraged to experience Dubai to the fullest. As you do that, leave your belongings at luggage storage in Dubai. It will give you peace of mind knowing your items are in a safe place and easily accessible anytime you need them.
If you’re planning a holiday in this stunning destination, Dubai’s peak tourist season is from November to April. It’s when temperatures are at their best, allowing everyone to make the most of the city’s outdoor adventures, from the desert safari experience to skydiving and helicopter tours. Keep reading to learn more about Dubai safety in general, and guarantee fun memories as you explore the city.
Is Dubai safe to visit right now?
Yes, Dubai is safe to visit, with the United Arab Emirates ranking 52nd on the 2021 Global Peace Index out of 163 countries. There’s a strong police presence in the emirate, especially in tourist areas, and you’ll find CCTV cameras lining the streets.
Although the city has strict laws, which make it almost crime-free, there are still safety concerns that you should be aware of when visiting Dubai. Petty crimes, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, occur. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and ensure that your personal belongings, including your travel documents, are always secure. Unwary travelers can make easy targets for thieves, as they often stand out in a crowd.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and the answer to the question “Is Dubai Safe?” will depend on individual circumstances. However, you can use this safety information as part of your travel preparations.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or headed on your once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s best to check out the government’s official travel guidelines for the city and country before you travel. Your security and well-being should be your top priority, so do your research and be familiar with your destination for a safe and worry-free Dubai adventure.
Top petty crimes and scams in Dubai affecting tourists
One of the real dangers of traveling to a foreign place is not knowing what awaits you there. Dubai may be unfamiliar territory, but it’s not a reason to fall for petty crimes and fraudulent activities. To prevent that from happening, here’s a list of some of the common crimes in Dubai and ways to protect yourself and your belongings:
While violent crime is rare in Dubai, it has its fair share of pickpocketing, purse snatching, and phone grabbing. It can happen anywhere but is more common around shopping malls and popular tourist areas like Jumeirah Beach. Thieves often target travelers because they know they have nice stuff in their wallets and bags, like cameras, jewelry, shopping items, and cash.
Be aware of your surroundings and strangers in crowds. Don’t always assume that a pickpocket goes around looking like a bum. Many of the sneakiest and most skilled pickpockets are well-dressed and may even look like business people.
Theft from cars also occurs, so ensure your doors are locked and windows closed at all times. Never leave documents and personal items in plain sight inside a vehicle. Only take what’s necessary for your trip during the day and leave the rest at a Bounce locker.
ATM and credit card fraud is one of the most prevalent methods to swindle money, not only in Dubai but also in many cities across the world. Fraudsters may use devices like skimmers to collect credit card information illegally.
Be cautious when using your debit or credit cards, and pay extra attention when your card is being handled by others. Additionally, avoid using an ATM with an unusual or irregular card reader or feature. Also, set up a transaction alert on your mobile device to get a notification for transactions, allowing you to track and monitor them.
Unsuspecting travelers at Dubai Airport can be at risk of falling into a scam. If you’re not careful, you might be trapped in taking an unofficial taxi. Some taxi drivers also scam tourists by telling them the meter is broken and charging them more than the actual fare.
Use only licensed taxis, and ignore people claiming to be taxi drivers at the airport. Instead, follow the signs that will lead you to the designated area for official taxis. Always check to ensure the meter is working before getting into the vehicle. You can also hire a reputable taxi company to take you to your destination.
Is Dubai safe to travel alone
Travelers who want to visit Dubai alone can plan a trip without being concerned about their overall safety. Although there’s a strong Arabic influence, Dubai is quite westernized, making it easy for solo travelers.
As a city in the Middle East, which has a reputation for being difficult for solo female travelers, you might think twice about going there. But as long as you respect and follow the country’s local laws and culture, you’ll have a safe trip to the city.
When it comes to clothing, some places have a dress code, but women travelers generally don’t have to cover up completely. Still, we commend carrying a scarf with you so you have something to cover yourself in case you feel uncomfortable.
Whether you’re with a group or traveling solo, make sure you’re familiar with Sharia law to know what to avoid doing in Dubai. It includes not swearing in public, using rude gestures, criticizing the government, and taking pictures of people or government buildings without permission.
Safest neighborhoods in Dubai
Dubai is one of the safest Middle Eastern cities, so it’s not hard to find lovely areas to stay and spend your night without worries. Apart from the best Dubai neighborhoods, we’ve included a few places you might want to stay away from during your visit.
Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Quiet and charming, Jumeirah Lakes Towers is a sought-after residential district with a glass-lawned park, gorgeous lakes, and tall, modern buildings. It’s a family-friendly community where you’ll find young families, celebrities, and even politicians, so you can just imagine how secure the neighborhood is.
Another beloved spot among residents and tourists is Dubai Marina, an affluent residential area and one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. It is home to two main beaches in Dubai and boasts majestic skyscrapers and a range of entertainment and dining options.
Most Dubai neighborhoods are safe and would be OK to stay in, but there are areas you might want to skip during your tour. They include Bur Dubai, Sonapur, and Deira, Dubai’s oldest district and one of the poorest.
Is Dubai public transportation safe?
Dubai’s public transportation is generally safe, as well as its ride-sharing services and taxis. Its public buses are air-conditioned, and the Dubai Metro has stations at the marina, the city center, the Dubai International Airport, and shopping malls. They are efficient, clean, and reliable, making it easy to get around Dubai.
When using a taxi, avoid sitting next to the driver when possible, especially for women. Be careful with having ‘small talk,’ as some drivers misinterpret it as a form of propositioning or over-friendliness. Female passengers and families can take advantage of taxis with female drivers. You can identify them by their pink roofs.
You can flag a taxi down in a safe area or simply reserve a ride in advance. Check if the driver’s name and ID number are posted in the back. As a general rule, never accept rides from ‘nice’ strangers and only use licensed taxis.
Important emergency numbers in Dubai
It’s crucial to have the contact numbers of the relevant authorities in Dubai during emergency situations or when you feel your safety is compromised. Save them on your phone to make a quick call when a crisis arises.
- UAE country code: +971
- Dubai area code: 04
- Dubai Police: 999
- Dubai Police (Anonymous reporting): 800-4888
- Ambulance Services: 998
- Fire Emergencies: 997
- Coastguard: 996
- Municipality Service: +971-4-221-5555
- Crimes against Children: +971-4-266-1228
Remember to be aware of your embassy number, as they can help you in specific circumstances.
Enjoy a safe trip to Dubai
Dubai has quickly emerged as a global center for transport, business and culture in the UAE. It’s a prosperous city favored by millions of visitors who come here for work and recreation, which is why it’s not a surprise that it’s one of the safest cities in the world to visit. However, like most touristy places, Dubai isn’t free from petty crimes, which can quickly ruin your vacation. But with careful preparation and proper precautions, staying safe in the city is easy.
You are now well versed on the safe status of Dubai and how to spend your time there. Use this information to enjoy the 'City of Gold' to the fullest.