Crime in Bangladesh – How to Avoid It

As untouched as Bangladesh is, compared to other Asian countries, you might still encounter crime. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while traveling.

With beautiful national parks, jungles that are home to the elusive Bengal tiger, fantastic beaches and age-old plantations, Bangladesh is as diverse and interesting as the people who call it home. If you use common sense, your travels are likely to be safe and without incident.

Petty Crime

Many of the crimes committed against travelers in Bangladesh are petty; pickpocketing and bag snatching in particular.
  • Avoid flashing money and keep valuables well concealed
  • Hold bags in front of you and don't place them on the ground when dining or resting 
  • Criminals often work as teams either on motorcycles or three-wheeled vehicles (CNGs), so when walking near the road, keep your bag away from the roadside.

Violent Crime

Armed robbery is the second-most common crime, and obviously much more dangerous. There have been reports of an increase in the number of these types of thefts in Gulshan and Banani, two of Dhaka's wealthiest areas. Passengers of rickshaws, CNGs or taxis, especially at night, are particularly vulnerable to armed robberies.

Kidnapping

The kidnapping of businessmen and children for ransom has increased in Bangladesh, but the targets are rarely travelers. Always remain aware of your surroundings, particularly in more isolated or rural locations as the risk increases.

Local Police

If you are a victim of a crime, can contact the local police, however, keep in mind there have been reports of officials abusing their authority and general corruption. If you visit a police station, don't go alone. Carry a copy of your passport, visa and other important travel documents in case you are required to show identification at designated check posts throughout the country.

Women's Safety

Women travelers should always dress modestly to respect local culture. If you're traveling by bus, always sit towards the front near the driver, and avoid traveling at night, particularly if you are alone.

Because Bangladesh isn't a popular travel destination, visitors are often seen as something of a novelty to locals, especially children. Don't be surprised if you are stared at, followed around or photographed, it's usually harmless curiosity. If the staring becomes a bit too much for you, simply say "Amar dike takaben na", which means "please stop staring at me". Be kind, and use this sparingly, because the attention is not meant to offend. Some people may see you as an opportunity to practise their English and will chatter incessantly to you. Be polite and considerate of anyone interacting with you.
 
For more safety tips for women travelers in Bangladesh, check out this article from Alex from Lost With Purpose.

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