Crime in Morocco: Don't Get Rocked by the kasbah

Part folklore, part reality, Morocco has a reputation for crooks and shysters, scammers and petty thieves.


While fears of being kidnapped by slave traders are the stuff of legend and belong only in storybooks, you do need to be alert and keep a close eye on your valuables while traveling through Morocco.

Muggings in Morocco

The crime is almost exclusively petty, although there's been a rise in the number of robberies where a knife is produced, particularly in Tangier.

A number of visitors have been robbed at knifepoint in the area between Blvd Pasteur/Mohammed V and the beach, and in and around the Kasbah/Medina late at night. 

There are very limited numbers of tourists that have been injured, but it's advisable to avoid these areas late at night, and not to carry large amounts of cash or anything too valuable.

Click for an interactive version of this map. Red = mugging danger zone. Yellow = Medina.

When driving through cities at night, lock the doors and keep the windows closed. Casablanca in particular has had a few carjackings, and wealthy tourists in hire cars are an obvious target.

Pickpockets & Petty Crime

While most Moroccans are honest and helpful, there will always be others who take advantage of the crowds and small alleys in medinas.

Souks are like magnets for the petty thieves. Pickpocketing and purse-snatching is very common, and visitors should avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying large sums of cash. Instead, wear a money belt, use the hotel safe for valuables and carry a minimal amount of cash.

Tourists are more likely to be mugged than a local, so try and blend in. Always look like you know where you're going. Looking like a lost sheep on the streets will draw attention to you immediately. 

Pickpockets often work in a group, so if you're distracted by someone, make sure you know where your belongings are. Keep a distance and be vigilant. Never leave your bag on a table or hanging on a chair in a restaurant.

There are reports of credit card fraud in shops. Never let your credit card out of sight. In the larger cities such as Tangier, aggressive begging is common at ATMs. Try to use ATMs inside buildings and banks, and take a friend for added safety.

Taxi Tactics - How to Avoid Dodgy Taxi Drivers

More dishonest than dangerous, Morocco's taxi drivers seem determined to weasel a few more dirham from visitors.

There are two types of taxi: petit taxi and grand taxi (little and big).

Petit taxis are small sedans which take up to 3 passengers. If there are spare seats it may stop to pick up additional passengers. Everyone pays the appropriate fare recorded by a meter. petit taxis will not take you beyond the city.

Grand taxis are big old Mercedes sedans and can take up to 6, and others will join you unless you pay for its exclusive use. There are no meters so negotiate the price. Ask your hotel to tell you the price you should pay. Grand taxis can take you to another city - for a price. Some of the grand taxis have defined routes and won't take you to exactly where you want. You might have to do one or two hops to get to your destination.

If you do get scammed, remember this is a small time fraud, so try to keep it in perspective. The dishonest taxi driver will get a few dollars, not your life savings. 

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