Going around a city you’ve never been to before is exciting and quite anxiety-inducing. We need to consider that there are rules and regulations that we have to follow to avoid encountering the law.
Additionally, there are still concerns that you might have over your safety. Are there places you need to avoid? Are there any precautions you need to take?
While every city is indeed protected by law enforcement, some questions over personal safety will still be with any new traveller. For this article, we hash out some details on how safe Dubai is.
Additionally, we’ll also share some tips and reminders so you can also proactively protect yourself in case of any emergencies.
Is Dubai safe?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Dubai. The city has a low crime rate with a clearly visible police presence keeping the area secure. There are also CCTV cameras on almost every street, giving tourists and locals a higher sense of security.
But let’s discuss how exactly Dubai keeps its residents and visitors safe.
What are the crime and safety ratings of Dubai?
As we’ve said earlier, Dubai has a very low crime rate. This is because the city is heavily monitored and maintained by the police.
The table below shows the data from the police on the common crimes committed in Dubai. Take note that the numbers show the statistics per one hundred people:
|Grand Theft Auto||3.8||2||1.8||1.9||1.7||1.8||1.8|
Data from Dubai Police
Common crimes are theft and robbery while abduction, rape and murder landing at the bottom of the list. This low crime rate certainly helps tourists feel safer while going around the city.
Regardless, as with any tourist destination, we still advise you to be wary and protective of your belongings during your travels because you never know what might happen.
Interestingly, according to the safety application GeoSure, the city actually is on the average side of security.
To provide a short explanation, the software takes information from multiple sources such as big data, user reviews, and information from organizations such as the WHO, the UN, and the Center for Disease Control.
The application then processes these to provide a rating on how safe it would be for travelers to go around a location. The following table shows Dubai’s scores in different aspects of security:
|Safety Category||GeoSure Safety Score|
|Health and Medical||60|
Source: Real-time Data as of 11 Oct 2022 from GeoSure
The higher the score, the safer it is for travelers. Overall, Dubai earns a composite GeoSure score of 57.
The score implies that yes, Dubai is safe to an extent, but there are still going to be instances of crime around the populace.
Now, to further ensure that your time in the city will be safe and peaceful, you’ll have to consider the rules implemented in Dubai as well!
What are the laws I need to consider as a visitor?
Dubai follows an interpretation of the Sharia law. The most commonly known implementations of this law are the things that you’re not allowed to wear and do while inside the city.
We recommend taking note of them to avoid any altercation with the authorities.
Clothing Laws in Dubai
Image credit: Ron Lach
As mentioned in the previous section, Dubai follows strict laws concerning clothing. Aside from cross-dressing, visitors are not allowed to wear revealing clothes. These include short bottoms and sleeveless tops.
Avoid shirts and clothing that have vulgar or offensive designs or images printed on them as well.
Alcohol Laws in Dubai
Image credit: Elina Sazonova
In Dubai, there are only certain places where you can get drunk. There are also other regulations you need to consider concerning alcohol consumption while in the city.
Note that you will need a license before you can purchase alcohol and keep it at your home. Tourists who want to drink in their hotels or rented apartments will need to obtain a temporary liquor license as well.
Laws on PDA in Dubai
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Try to keep public displays of affection at a minimum during your travels, or else you might get in trouble. Dubai follows a code that punishes couples, whether married or not, that kiss or embrace out in the open.
Holding hands is still tolerable, though. So you can do that out in the open.
Couples who disobey the rules for PDAs can be imprisoned or deported back to their home country.
Drug Laws in Dubai
Image credit: Pixabay
Another aspect of regulations or the law you need to remember is drug use. These recreational items are not allowed at all in Dubai.
You can’t bring them to the city or even use them. If you get caught, you can be fined from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000 or be put into jail for a minimum of 5 years.
Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Image credit: Brett Sayles
While there are no specifically-written laws that target or discriminate against LGBTQ+ travelers, there are rules in the city that directly affect them.
If you are trans, we recommend not going to the city. Trans travelers have been detained and questioned because officials do not recognize their gender identity.
One of the laws implemented in the city concerns the way people dress – it is illegal to wear clothes that don’t correspond to your biological sex.
Unfortunately, this means that those who present themselves differently than their gender will have to change how they dress if they want to visit the city.
How can you be safe if you’re traveling alone?
Image credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi
While it would be easier to travel in a group, there are some that still want to go on a journey themselves. Dubai is home to multiple activities and opportunities you can do on your own.
You should get a Dubai SIM card at the airport when you arrive. Having this will allow you to connect to the Internet and use Google Maps in case you get a little lost.
When exploring the city we recommend booking an organized tour so you can interact and meet with fellow travelers. Some safe activities also included shopping in malls and stores.
Dubai is also home to fun nightlife with plenty of bars, clubs, and other establishments for some nighttime activities.
Women should watch their drinks when they’re out and shouldn’t really accept drinks from strangers. When going home, take extra precautions to take trusted routes or transportation.
Even though Dubai is safe, it never hurts to take extra precautions, especially if you’re on your own. Remember to always be cautious and vigilant.
Any place is safe if we consider things at a high level of abstraction. By this, we refer to cameras, security personnel, and law enforcers.
The danger comes when a traveler is unaware of the rules in their surroundings and will have to pay the consequences for their ignorance. Remember to always take note of the law or the dos and don’ts in a place that you want to visit.
Additionally, just because a place has a low crime rate or is usually deemed safe by other tourists does not mean it always is. Stay alert, stay cautious, and stay vigilant.
We hope that any of these tips and other tidbits of information can give you a picture of what to expect and look out for while traveling in the city.