Crime Information for Tourists in Algeria

The crime rate in Algeria is moderate. Serious crimes have been reported in which armed men posing as police officers have entered homes and robbed the occupants at gunpoint. Petty theft and home burglary occur frequently, and muggings are on the rise, especially after dark in the cities. Theft of contents and parts from parked cars, pick-pocketing, theft on trains and buses, theft of items left in hotel rooms, and purse snatching are common. Alarms, grills, and/or guards help to protect most foreigners' residences.

Kidnappings, orchestrated by both criminals and terrorists, are a common occurrence in Algeria. Kidnappings for ransom occur frequently in the Kabylie region, but also in other parts of southern Algeria. Kidnapping by terrorist organizations or armed criminal groups is an immediate threat in both the Kabylie region in northeastern Algeria and the trans-Sahara region in the south. An Italian tourist was kidnapped by AQIM in February 2011 and later released in April 2012. In January 2011, two Frenchmen were kidnapped by AQIM in Niamey, Niger, and were killed during a rescue attempt near the Malian border. In October 2011, two Spanish nationals and one Italian national were kidnapped from a refugee camp near the town of Tindouf, near the borders of Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania by the newly formed Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). In April 2012, seven Algerian diplomats were kidnapped in Kidal, northern Mali by MUJAO, and in September 2012, one diplomat was killed, and three were released. MUJAO still holds three Algerian diplomats.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law, too.

Social unrest has become commonplace in Algeria. The frequency and intensity of localized, sporadic, and usually spontaneous civil disturbances has risen dramatically since 2010. In 2012, there were similar spontaneous protests and demonstrations with some being well-organized in advance. These disturbances are overwhelmingly based in longstanding, deeply seated socio-economic grievances. Some people involved in these protests, demonstrations, and riots have ignited fireworks, thrown Molotov cocktails, brandished knives, and looted businesses, damaged property, and robbed passersby. Most victims displayed obvious signs of wealth and were targets of opportunity. Travelers should avoid crowds, protests, demonstrations, and riots.

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