While the Capital of Benin is Porto Novo, the administrative capital and its largest city is Cotonou, and as such it does have a few crime issues to be aware of.
Street Crime, robberies, car-jackings and muggings do occur, particularly along the Boulevard de France (the beach road by the Marina and Novotel Hotels) and on the beaches near hotels frequented by tourists.
There have been recent reports of the use of force in robberies including armed hold-ups. Don't carry valuables in these areas and only carry a photocopy of your passport, not the real thing. Use your common sense and don't flash your cash and make yourself a target for robbery.
As in most countries (especially in West Africa), travellers 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, don't wander off the beaten track.
Some of the border areas, notably the Nigeria border are very dangerous with armed robberies and banditry being reported. Car-jackings have been reported on highways and rural roads; again, exercise caution: keep the windows rolled up and the doors locked and stay alert for any suspicious behaviour or attempts 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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