While incidence of crime in Liberia is high, most crimes that occur within the expat community are crimes of opportunity (which increase during the hours of darkness), to include residential burglary or armed robbery (with use of a knife or machete). Criminal activity has been reported in both urban and rural areas. The Liberian National Police have limited capacity to respond to crime events, thus, crime is much higher in Liberian communities where police are not visible. Driving in Monrovia presents a danger to residents and visitors, as traffic laws are either nonexistent or not enforced by police. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in injury or loss of life. The police are poorly equipped and largely incapable of providing effective protection or investigation.
Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. Formerly associated with Nigeria, these fraud schemes are now prevalent throughout western Africa, including Liberia, and pose a danger of both financial loss and physical harm. An increasing number of U.S. citizens have been the targets of such scams. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. U.S. citizens should carefully check any unsolicited business proposal originating in Liberia before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel, particularly if the proposal involves the mining or sale of gold and diamonds. There has also been an increase in the number of Liberian/American Internet relationships in which there are eventual requests for financial assistance under fraudulent pretenses.
Petty corruption is rampant; poorly paid government officials may ask for fees for doing their job. Travelers may be inconvenienced for not paying them.
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 also be breaking local law.
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