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The capital city of Benin is Porto Novo, but the largest city and administrative capital is Cotonou. While traveling to these cities, there are a few crime issues travelers need to be aware of.
Street crime, robberies, car-jackings and muggings do occur in the country, particularly along Boulevard de France (the beach road by the Marina and Novotel Hotels) and on the beaches near hotels visited frequently by travelers.
There have been recent reports on the use of force in robberies, including armed hold-ups. Don't carry valuables while traveling around Benin, and only carry a photocopy of your passport, not the real thing. Use your common sense and don't flash your cash, which would definitely make yourself a target for robbery.
Similar to the situation in other countries throughout West Africa, travelers should avoid isolated and poorly lit areas, and should not walk around the city or the beaches between dusk and dawn. The Dantokpa market is particularly dangerous at night. It's common sense really, stay in well lit and populated areas, and in Benin, don't wander off the beaten track.
Some of the border areas, notably the Nigeria border are very dangerous, where armed robberies and banditry has been reported. Car-jackings have been reported on highways and rural roads. Exercise caution while in a car or taxi: keep the windows rolled up, the doors locked, and stay alert for any suspicious behavior or attempts by people on the streets to stop a moving car.
It can surely come as no surprise that fraud is rife throughout West Africa, so you should exercise extreme caution when using credit cards and ATM machines.
Business and internet fraud is also common so if you are presented with a proposal for a quick and simple transaction, be alert and wary, don't become a victim. Also, corruption is endemic in Benin - if you are requested to provide a "gift" to facilitate official matters, just politely decline.
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