Petty theft is common in Gabon. Violent crime is more common in urban areas, and there have been armed robberies in homes, restaurants, and at beaches frequented by foreigners. U.S. citizens and Europeans have been the victims of crime.
The U.S. Embassy in Gabon encourages you to take extra precautions when traveling in Libreville. To prevent carjacking and petty theft, you should travel with your car windows up, doors locked, and items of value hidden from view. The Embassy has received reports of scams where thieves cause a distraction to motorists, such as stepping in front of cars in tight traffic, in order to create opportunities for cohorts to snatch and grab from unlocked passenger doors. These incidents have occurred during daylight hours. Riding in a taxi alone or during late hours of the evening is not recommended and increases your risk of becoming the victim of crime. Carjackings and violent incidents of road rage have also been reported to the Embassy. These incidents have also occurred during daylight hours. We have also received reports of police harassment of U.S. citizens at checkpoints, and U.S. citizens should carry identification at all times, as described more fully below.
You should avoid poorly lit streets, and unfamiliar areas of the city, especially at night. You should not walk, run, or stay on the beach alone or in groups after dusk. When dining in restaurants or visiting markets, you should carry a minimal amount of cash and avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry. If you are the victim of an attempted robbery or carjacking, you are encouraged to comply with the attacker to avoid injury and to report all incidents to the police and the U.S. Embassy. Police response time to reports of crime is often slow.
Scams or confidence schemes do occur in Gabon. For general information on scams, see the Department of State’s Financial Scams web page.
Credit cards are not widely accepted except at hotels, and because of the high rate of credit card fraud, you should exercise caution when using them. Some hotels only accept credit cards with a European-style microchip. While withdrawing funds from ATMs, you should exercise the same safety precautions as in the U.S. as they are targeted by thieves.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
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