Crime in Saudi Arabia has increased over recent years, but remains at levels far below most major metropolitan areas in the United States. Visitors should take precautions to reduce their risk of becoming victims of crime. Individuals should be aware of their surroundings, keep valuables out of sight and secure, and travel with a companion, if possible. Private Saudi citizens who perceive that a foreigner is not observing conservative standards of conduct have been known to harass, pursue, or assault that person. The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh cautions U.S. citizens that Saudi Arabian police have detained potential witnesses to crimes without charges or access to legal counsel, and with limited or delayed consular access, during the investigative stage of criminal cases, which can take months. On occasion, Saudi authorities have temporarily confiscated the personal effects of detained potential witnesses. Even when released from detention, witnesses to criminal incidents may be prohibited from leaving the country until investigation of the incident is complete.
During 2011-12, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh received several reports of carjacking incidents in Riyadh and throughout the Kingdom. These incidents involved multiple criminals who, in some instances, used force or a display of force. In other incidents, the criminals created a diversion such as a minor traffic accident or some other ruse to coax the driver out of the car. In the few cases involving Westerners, it appears that they were targeted because of the make of their cars rather than the fact that they were Westerners. As in the United States, most vehicles are stolen for parts. If you are a victim of such an attack, please see the Victims of Crimesection below for guidance on reporting the incident to the authorities.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are these goods illegal in the United States, they are a violation of local law as well.
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