The Department of State rates Dhaka as having a high crime rate; the types of crime are comparable to any other world capital or large city. Always take precautions such as being alert and aware, locking home and vehicle doors, varying routes and schedules, traveling in groups, never walking alone at night, and parking near entrances or security lamps. Hiring a 24-hour guard is highly recommended due to the possibility of trespassing and break-ins. In general, crime dramatically increases in the hours of darkness; this includes dusk and dawn. Urban crime can be organized or opportunistic, conducted by individuals or groups, and commonly encompasses fraud, theft (larceny, pick-pocketing, and snatch-and-grab), robbery (armed and unarmed), carjacking, rape, assault, and burglary (home and auto). Incidents of crime and levels of violence are higher in low-income residential and congested commercial areas, but are seen in wealthier areas as well, including the Diplomatic Enclave in Dhaka. Many of the reported attacks occurred while the victims were riding in rickshaws; other incidents involved the targeting of small groups of foreigners on foot.
To reduce your risk while riding in a rickshaw, keep your bags or valuables under your legs, away from passing vehicle traffic, and ensure that your bag’s carrying straps are not visible. For security reasons, Embassy personnel are prohibited from riding in taxis, buses, rickshaws in Dhaka (outside of Dhaka’s Diplomatic Enclave) and engine-powered rickshaws (also known as CNGs or auto rickshaws) and recommends that U.S. citizens exercise similar caution. Although U.S. embassy personnel may use trains in Bangladesh, travelers are warned to use extreme caution as trains in Bangladesh are known to be boarded by robbers at all hours of the day on all routes and larceny commonly occurs. Avoid carrying or displaying large sums of money or wearing expensive jewelry and be aware of your surroundings when you use ATMs. Valuables should be stored in hotel safety deposit boxes and should not be left unattended in hotel rooms.
Taxis, if available at all, are unsafe and unreliable. Long-term visitors typically hire a car and driver; short-term visitors should hire a car through their hotel and arrange in advance with their hotel or other reliable party for pickup by hotel vehicle or similar transportation.
Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions, restricting evening entertainment to well-known venues, and avoiding isolated areas when alone at any time of day. Keep your hotel room number confidential and make sure hotel room doors have chains, deadlocks, and spy-holes. Hire only reliable cars and drivers and avoid traveling in vehicles hailed on the street.
Police are generally responsive to reports of crimes against U.S. citizens. However, crimes often go unsolved or unprosecuted.
If you are assaulted, the Embassy recommends that you not fight with your attacker. Flee to a safe area and report the situation to the local authorities. Let go of your purse or backpack rather than fight to retain possession of it. Use hotel safes or lock-boxes for valuables. We encourage all U.S. citizens to carry their mobile phones with them at all times and to travel in pairs or groups. It is also a good idea to travel with a native Bangla-speaker if you intend to travel outside urban areas.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only is it illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
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