The crime threat in Kuwait is assessed as low; however, Kuwait is not crime-free. Although there has not been a rise in crime incidents targeting U.S. citizens, crime overall in Kuwait is steadily increasing according to local media reports. Reports from Westerners of petty theft and vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity and usually a result of practicing poor personal security,e.g., not locking vehicle or hotel room doors, exposing money and jewelry, or leaving valuables in plain sight and unattended. However, there have also been reports of harassment and sexual assault, especially of women when traveling out alone. Incidents have occurred in various areas and times to include the Gulf Road, shopping malls, hotels, and in residential neighborhoods.
U.S. citizens should be mindful of cultural and social norms when traveling in Kuwait. To reduce your chances of becoming a victim, practice personal security measures, and share guidance with your family and household members. Female travelers should keep in mind the cultural differences in Kuwait and should be aware that some actions may invite unwanted attention. Modest dress, not engaging in small talk, not making constant eye contact, and maintaining a low profile may deter harassment. As always, call 112 for emergency assistance.
Laws in Kuwait regarding domestic violence are distinctly different than the laws and protections afforded to victims in the United States. Assaults with minor injuries may not be considered criminal acts. Victims of domestic violence often report that they encountered difficulty with making the reports to the police. It is recommended to obtain the services of a private attorney. The Embassy’s List of Attorneys is available on the Embassy website. Social service agencies are few, if any; when they exist it is often only for the benefit of Kuwait citizens.
Travelers should exercise caution with public transportation and check points as police impersonators have been known to use that ruse to lure their victims. Police stations generally do not have female officers or investigators to assist with these cases. While most hospitals will contact a criminal investigator to assist a victim of crime, victims with minor injuries may need to make the initial police report and obtain the required documents for the collection of evidence prior to receiving treatment. The Government of Kuwait does not provide victim’s assistance and there is no rape crisis center or similar service in-country.
The Kuwaiti police accept crime reports at the police station with jurisdiction over the area where the crime occurred. If filing a crime report, it is advisable that the U.S. citizen be accompanied by a person who speaks Arabic or by a local attorney. The Embassy’s List of Attorneys is available on the Embassy website. Filing a crime report can take several hours as a police investigator will take the victim’s statement orally while composing his investigative report. In all cases of abuse, the victim must obtain a medical report from a Kuwaiti hospital.
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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