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Dubai Crime & Security

While the crime rate in Dubai is very low, a healthy degree of caution should still be exercised. Keep your valuables and travel documents locked in your hotel room or in the hotel safe. When in crowds, be discreet with your money and wallet; don’t carry large amounts of cash on you and don’t trust strangers. Money and gem-related scams run by con men are on the increase so don’t be bullied into anything.

Conmen are ever present in Dubai, especially the "Nigeria 419" scammers. Do not arrange meetings or entertain their requests or give any personal details. Should they not comply, individuals who will be happy to listen to their business propositions are the police. Thanks to Dubai's new property boom, real estate fraudsters are also popping up, so exercise caution if you are there to shop around for a new home.

The most common reason for expatriates getting on the wrong side of the law is driving under the influence of alcohol. In the UAE there is a zero-tolerance policy; if even a sip of alcohol has passed your lips, you are not allowed to drive. While there are few spot checks, if you have even a minor accident, and even if you were not at fault, you might be breathalysed and the consequences can be serious. Even driving the morning after a heavy night is risky, since you will still have alcohol in your system. You will be arrested, and the usual penalty is a minimum 30 days in prison. You should bear in mind too that your insurance company could refuse to pay the claim if you were in an accident, even if you were not to blame.

Harming others, be it physically or verbally, will get you into trouble – at the very least a heavy fine, but if the other person was injured a jail term may be in order. If the victim chooses to drop the charges then you will be released. If you are detained for being drunk and disorderly you may spend a night in the cells, but if you are abusive you could be looking at a fine or longer sentence.

Illegal narcotics such as marijuana or hashish, could earn you a prison sentence of four years or more. This will almost certainly be followed by deportation. If you are found guilty of dealing or smuggling, you could be looking at a life sentence, or even the death penalty. Even some medications that are legal in your home country, such as codeine, temazepam and prozac, may be banned in the UAE – check with the UAE embassy in your home country before you leave, and if you are in any doubt, try and find an alternative or at least have a copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor.

The police force in Dubai prides itself on the being the most modern force with the most up to date equipment in the UAE. In an effort to better serve Dubai’s visitors, the Dubai Police has launched the Department for Tourist Security. It acts as a liaison between you and Dubai Police, although in general police officers are extremely helpful. They are calm and understanding, and speak a multitude of languages. There are 10 police stations in the city, which include Bur Dubai, Jebel Ali, Ports, Nad Al Sheba, Hatta, Al Quasis, Naif, Al Muraqqabat, Al Rashidiyah, and Al Rifaa.





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