Whenever you’re traveling to a foreign country that you’ve never been to before, there’s usually a bit of apprehension. Questions regarding safety, customs, and culture often arise. This is especially true given that Qatar is located in the Middle East- a region with strict laws and an underlying distaste for Western culture.
So, that being said, is Doha safe?
For the most part, Doha is an incredibly safe city for tourists. As long as the proper measure is taken to adhere to local customs and laws, visitors shouldn’t have anything to worry about. In fact, compared to most industrialized cities, Doha has some of the lowest crime rates.
Lately, I’ve had a number of readers and followers comment and ask me about how to stay safe in Doha and what some of the statistics are regarding crime in the city. So, I decided that it was the perfect time to put together a short post outlining crime in Doha. I’ll also offer some helpful tips for how to stay safe (and legal) in Doha so that you have the best experience possible!
How Safe Is Doha?
If you didn’t know already, Qatar is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Championship. This means that tons of new jobs are coming to the city of Doha as it prepares to host one of the world’s largest sporting events. As it stands, there are currently just under 3 million people living in Doha.
Whenever the FIFA World Cup is held in a city, historically, the country does everything in its power to fight crime and clean the city up even more to ensure a smooth drama-free national event. Doha is already one of the safest cities in the entire world, and the upcoming World Cup ensures that it will only become safer in the coming year!
Staying Safe In Doha: Tips and Facts
When most people think of Qatar, they think of upscale shopping, dining at one of Qatar’s famous Indian restaurants, yachting in the marina, or a safari-style tour through the desert. There’s a certain opulence that’s to be expected from an oil-rich Arab nation, and the capital city of Doha offers it all.
While these are all among some of the many things that Qatar is famous for, most people also don’t know that Qatar is an incredibly safe city. As long as you don’t go out of your way to make yourself a target, and you show respect for local customs and culture, the people of Doha are incredibly welcoming to tourists and outsiders. After all, a huge sector of their economy is dedicated to tourism, so why wouldn’t they be welcoming?
Now, let’s start off by taking a few minutes to go over some of the facts about crime in Doha.
How Many Violent Crimes Happen In Doha?
To give you an idea of just how safe Doha is compared to the United States, take a look at this statistic:
- The average occurrence of murder in Qatar is 9 murders per 1 million people.
- The average occurrence of murder in the United States is 42 murders per 1 million people.
That means you’re four times more likely to be killed in the United States than you are in Qatar. If you take a look at other violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault, and rape, you’ll find similar trends. As far as rape goes, it’s fifteen times more likely to happen in the U.S. than in Qatar/Doha.
So overall, Doha is a very non-violent country. Part of this has to do with the country’s strict laws and harsh punishments for criminals.
Are There Robberies In Doha?
Similar to violent crime, robberies are very uncommon in Qatar. While there is the occasional report of pickpocketing or petty theft, violent theft or robbery is incredibly rare. Despite the fact that it’s one of the richest countries in the world and you might expect it to be a hub for burglars, the country’s harsh punishment for burglary ensures that it’s a rare occurrence.
How To Stay Safe (and Legal) In Doha
Unlike most global cities, the real “danger” in Doha tends to come from the government and local police authorities. It’s common for Westerners who know little about Islamic customs to come to Doha and treat it as they would any other American or European city. Unfortunately, this can often result in hefty fines, tickets, and even imprisonment.
So, here are some things that you should be aware of in order to stay safe and legal during your stay in Doha.
Be Aware Of Local Alcohol Laws
In my post on Doha nightlife, I mentioned that Qatar has strong laws regarding the consumption of alcohol. Muslims are not allowed to consume any alcohol and can be imprisoned. This means that as a Muslim, you should not consume alcoholic beverages. As a non-Muslim, you should also respect the law and refrain from discussing alcohol in the presence of Muslims.
Additionally, consuming alcohol in public is illegal and can get you arrested. Alcohol should only be consumed within a private residence or a licensed restaurant with a permit to serve alcoholic beverages.
Last but not least, public drunkenness and inebriation are also arrestable offenses. If you’ve had a bit too much to drink, make sure that you stay in your hotel or give yourself time to sober up in the restaurant, club, or bar, before walking out into the streets.
Women Should Avoid Revealing Clothing
When Qatar was a British colony, there weren’t as many laws regarding women’s dress. However, not that it’s governed by Islamic law, women could be ticketed or harassed for wearing revealing clothing. Make sure your shoulders are covered and any skirts, shorts, or dresses are knee-length to avoid trouble.
Don’t Be Obscene
Making obscene gestures, cursing in public, or making sexual movements are all arrestable offenses. Be on your best behavior while in public!
Don’t Film The Locals
Although Qatar is a tech-friendly city (as is evident by its acceptance of Apple), you should avoid filming locals, religious sites, and/or government buildings. This could be taken the wrong way and viewed as a disrespectful gesture, garnering unwanted attention or scrutiny.
In some locations, it’s illegal. In general, if you want to film somebody or some location, make sure to ask the proper authorities before doing so.
As you can see, Doha is a very safe city. Violent crime and theft are incredibly rare, and the people here are generally very accepting and kind to visitors. As long as you make sure to show respect to Qatari laws and customs, you shouldn’t have any problems with the local police either. Overall, just be a respectful tourist, obey the law, and you’ll have an amazing time in Doha!