Burkina Faso Crime: How to Stay Safe!

If you don‘t like pickpockets, crime or watching your back at every turn, then you may want to give West Africa a miss.

The region has never been known as a safe destination, but one which rewards the intrepid traveller.

Street crime, bandits and scams are the norm in Burkina Faso, as is normal in most African nations - so if you don't spook easily then it may be a place to embrace.

Street Crime in Burkina Faso

Travellers moving through Burkina Faso will have to take care from simple crimes on the street. Westerners are often the target of criminals operating around cities, so be prepared.

Most crime reported involving tourists is purse snatchers, street scams – usually targeting wallets, jewelery, cell phones and cameras.

Do yourself a favour, leave the expensive watch at home, don‘t carry a purse and watch your back at all times. Best to travel in a big group, you are less likely to be targeted.

A common crime is a camera snatch, usually when a tourist has them dangling from their wrist. Be smart, keep them concealed, unless they are being used.

Assaults and thefts occur, particularly in Bobo Dioulasso and the capital, Ouagadougou. Muggings are common around the central market and the United Nations traffic circle in Ouagadougou. Security risks increase after dark.

Thieves are especially active during international meetings or events which draw large crowds to the capital.

Burkina Faso Bandits

Incidents of highway banditry are on the decline across the country, but continue to occur sporadically.

Although the bandits operate mostly at night, there have been daytime attacks. They have injured or killed individuals who refused their demands or attempted to drive through their roadblocks.

A police officer was shot and killed in August 2010 while attempting to stop a robbery.

Several attacks have been directed at intercity public buses, so if you can travel by convoy.

A word of advice, if you do get held up, don‘t be a hero. These people usually don‘t mess around.

Financial Scams in Burkina Faso

Scams are commonplace in West Africa, so be aware.

Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered.

Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money.

If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical assault from the perpetrators.
Financial scams, sometimes involving fraudulent transactions for gold and/or antiquities are originating out of BF. If you participate in these schemes you risk financial loss, or physical harm.

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