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There are a few major concerns when it comes to safety in Qatar and security is likely to remain a priority for the Qatari government, both in the run-up for the FIFA 2022 World Cup and in general.
While few people are affected by crime, there are precautionary issues to be aware of, especially in terms of travel safety.
Crime in Qatar
Crimes in Qatar that affect foreign visitors are mainly petty in nature and include unarmed opportunistic theft, commercial and residential burglary and theft from unattended vehicles. The Qatar police force has acted to safeguard locals and expats alike and provides a high standard of security. The force is highly visible and capable.
Financial fraud is a concern in Qatar and expats are strongly advised to take precautions in their financial dealings. Though credit and debit card fraud occur, the overall threat is no higher than in most cities in the West.
Female expats should also take care if out alone at night and ensure to travel in taxis that are properly registered.
Terrorism in Qatar
While terrorist activity in the country has historically been low, Qatar isn't immune to the threat of extremist attacks. The high number of expats in Qatar, particularly Westerners, and the government’s involvement in regional political affairs increase the possibility that it may be targeted in the future.
Protests in Qatar
While political opposition is limited, given reports of unfair treatment, poor working conditions and low wages of unskilled migrant workers, there have been protests surrounding these issues. Overall, public demonstrations are rare and, when they do take place, are generally peaceful and undisruptive. Still, it’s important to follow local news and steer clear of large demonstrations where possible.
Road safety in Qatar
The greatest safety threat to expats in Qatar is road travel. Traffic fatalities are among the leading causes of death in the country. Speeding, disobeying basic traffic laws and poor driving standards are often blamed for the high accident rate. Poor visibility during sandstorms also poses threats to drivers and when travelling out to the desert, it’s best to travel in a group in vehicles with four-wheel drive.
When driving in Qatar, we strongly urge expats to be vigilant of other vehicles and always abide by the rules of the road. In the event of an accident, seek healthcare assistance by dialing 999 for an ambulance.
Sea travel concerns in Qatar
There have been reports of maritime attacks around certain waters and ports in the Gulf, so we recommend following the latest news and enquiring on the routes before travelling.
If travelling by boat, always check that life jackets are available, especially by dhow – lateen-rigged boats with one or two masts that are commonly used in the region. Safety standards of some boats may not be on par with those of other countries.