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Bahrain - Crime and Safety

Bahrain has a relatively low crime rate when compared with other countries. Petty crimes such as bag snatching are not unheard of in the marketplaces although serious violent crime is extremely rare. Statistics show that more than half the people who commit crimes in Bahrain are actually from other countries. Visitors from other countries are advised to register with their own embassy when they arrive in Bahrain.

Expats should be aware that Bahrain – along with a number of other Gulf States – is a potential target for terrorist attacks. The amount of western investment and the number of international companies based there mean that an act of terrorism there could cause considerable harm and disruption and terrorists often issue threats towards these targets. It is important to be generally safety conscious and aware of what is going on around you and visitors are advised to avoid protests and demonstrations, as these have a tendency to become violent.

Female visitors to the country should be extra vigilant if travelling alone, particularly at night, and are advised to use only a recommended taxi firm. It is important to be aware of local customs to avoid causing offence, as this could lead to unnecessary trouble. Visitors are advised to dress conservatively when at work or out in public and to observe any religious and cultural beliefs.

There are a number of laws which may seem a little strange to westerners but should be observed. It is illegal to bring DVDs or video tapes in to Bahrain. Homosexuality is still illegal in Bahrain, as it is in a number of the Gulf States. It is important to carry your ID card at all times as the authorities can ask to see it at any time. Unlike a number of other Gulf States, alcohol is available for non-Muslims to buy, but should never be consumed in the street.

If you are in need of the emergency services while you are in Bahrain, the number to dial is 999. This is the number for the police, fire and ambulance services. The courts in Bahrain are supervised by the Higher Judicial Council. There are constitutional courts which are made up of a president and several member and they are chosen by the King. Penalties for committing crimes are often higher than in most western countries, and even those who only commit driving offences such as speeding can expect to spend some time behind bars.

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