Crime and Law in Ghana: How to Stay Safe

Our safety expert shares his essential tips on safety in Ghana, from crime and airport scams to local laws and safety for women.

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Ghana is a West African gem. It's a relatively stable, low crime country in a region not known for peace and stability. Here's everything you need to know to stay safe while traveling in Ghana.

Crime in Ghana

The capital Accra, like any major city will have some level of crime. Travelers, particularly women on their own, can be the target of opportunistic crimes such as muggings, bag snatching, petty theft and pickpocketing; which commonly occur in markets, at tourist attractions, beaches and spots where expats like to gather.

Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings particularly in crowded areas. Don't take any more than you need for the day. There have been occasional reports of cell phone snatching incidents in the streets, take care where you use your phone and don't wander around with it out all the time.

Caution should also be taken at public beaches around Ghana. Theft is the main problem, but there have been isolated incidents of foreign women receiving unwanted attention and sexual assaults.

If you plan to head out at night, always get a taxi to and from bars or restaurants at night.

Armed robberies and other violent crimes, including rape and house invasions have increased minimally, however violence against foreign nationals is low compared to other African countries.

Credt card fraud is an increasing problem in Ghana. Never let your card out of sight and avoid withdrawing money from ATM's on the street or at night. 

Drugs

Drugs have become a growing problem in Ghana as the country is a transit point for several illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The local Ghanaian authorities are determined to tackle and control the problem, with severe penalties for drug related offences such as smuggling, trafficking and use.

Even possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence in excess of 5 years, usually after a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Class A drugs such as cocaine are likely to be laced with other substances - there have been several reports of travelers dying after taking these drugs.

Airport Scams

Thefts by individuals posing as airport staff frequently occur at Kotoka International Airport in the capital, Accra.

Always remember, legitimate airport staff wear a current identification card which bears their name and photograph. Cards without photographs are not valid. There have also been reports of fake cops demanding money from travelers.

Travelers who are meeting a hire car at the airport should confirm the identity of their driver, either by requesting proper identification, verifying that the driver is an official from an organization or a hotel. This is due to increasing incidences of fake drivers who approach travelers before the main arrivals area claiming to be the traveler's driver or contact.

The fake driver will have obtained the traveler's name from the board displayed by the official driver in the arrivals area outside the airport. They will then attempt to extort money from the traveler once the traveler is in their vehicle.

Diamond Scams

West Africa is often associated with the diamond trade, with many of the world's best gems coming out of the region.

As a traveler to Ghana, you may be approached by touts on the street, hoping to sell diamonds to you. Usually these good deals are too good to be true. Despite Ghana having a legitimate diamond trade, many blood diamonds (mined with slave or child labour from conflict zones) still make their way into the legal markets. Avoid buying diamonds while traveling in the country.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality has been illegal in Ghana since the 1800's, with offences attracting a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. LGBTQ people are heavily discriminated against and violence towards the LGBTQ community does occur. The local gay party scene is mostly underground and there have been reports of local straight men scamming/blackmailing unsuspecting gay travelers in nightclubs and bars.

It's strongly advised that LGBTQ travelers remain discreet and avoid public displays of affection.

Photography

Photography near sensitive sites such as military installations or the airport is strictly prohibited. Such sites may not be clearly marked and the application of restrictions is open to interpretation.

Photographers should ask permission if they want to take a photograph of a building where there are guards on duty outside.

Permission should also be sought from people if you wish to take their photograph (a small tip or "dash" may be required). But beware of self-appointed officials trying to charge fees for tourists to take pictures of well-known sites of interest.

What to Wear

Wearing military-style or camouflage clothing is prohibited. This is not a unique rule and one that is found in several African countries. With many rebel and terrorist groups operating in the region, the last thing you want to do is be linked to something criminal.

Women's Safety

For the most part, Ghana is a safe country for women travelers. However opportunistic thieves may target lone women travelers so keep your belongings secure and be aware of our surroundings.

Ghana is a Christian country, where the locals observe conservative standards of dress and behaviour. Women travelers are advised to wear respectful, conservative clothing such as long sleeved pants and tops plus long skirts. Dressing conservatively can also reduce the unwanted attention from local Ghanaian men however if you are approached or spoken to, be polite but firm in your reply.

Try to travel during the day and if you need to travel at night, take a taxi but be sure to negotiate the rate before you hop in.

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33 Comments

  • Brian said

    Yes more and more I get emails on online dating from women in Ghana just wondering is all those people just looking for money or are some legit?

  • Michael said

    Brian, i get alot of emails from the dating(Women) service in ghana. I deleted my account as i don'rt trust them.

  • Ted said

    I am talking to a lady from Ghana right now, and she seems to be real. Time will tell. Remember to never send them money or gifts. Usually when you refuse to send them money they will stop talking to you. the real one will never ask you for anything.

  • Robert Saddler said

    Have three different ladies all talking to me right now 1has asked for money 1 is starting to hint about the third just started talking to me like

  • Bill said

    I am also talking to a lady from Ghana right now and she SEEMS too good to be true,time always tells,we will see,I personally still thinks she is a scam artist,she is white,gorgeous and says all the right things,such as I love you,I want to spend my life with you,I cant wait to be in the US with you,etc,etc

  • Frank said

    Woman vs Lady

    Some of the comments here use the term "lady" indiscriminately. It should be noted that not all women are ladies, but all ladies are women. A lady is a women who adheres to high standards of conduct. A women who is a scam artist is not a lady.

  • Bill said

    Frank, you are so correct,a scam artist could never be a lady in any sense of the word

  • Bill said

    Can anyone here tell me around how much it will cost for a resident of Ghana,Kumasi to be exact to get a passport and visa to come to the U.S.? I know we would have airfare to deal with as well but I don't want to be scammed,this area is well known for that and few can be trusted.Thanks to anyone that can help me!

  • Bill said

    I have been talking to a lady in Ghana for awhile now and she wants me to come there and visit her,do I have anything to fear?I have never been out of the U.S. before and I have my concerns about going to a strange country,am I being too paranoid? She says she and her sister will meet me at the airport,any help at all will certainly be appreciated,she says she wants to move to the U.S. with me,I guess I just have my doubts as to her sincerity,she SEEMS too good to be true but how could I possibly know unless I meet her in person?Is there anyway I can investigate her without her knowing?Again, thanks to anyone that can help me in any way!

  • Will said

    Hi Bill, I get your concern. it is totally natural for someone who hasn't experience a new environment to feel and for all that you have been reading doesn't help, I have been to Ghana, so many times, same as Lybia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Congo, Angola, South Africa, Bulgaria, Romania, India, hungry and some Europe to keep things short and the things that I read before over the internet about these countries would scare you but from experienced I have never had a bad time on those trips before.
    Coming to your question. Ghana is a safe country, fun place to be and lots of sites and attraction that would keep you coming, to be frank, it is much safer than South Africa if you want the honest truth. in the aspect of the lady, you have to base you trip as a holiday not because of the lady as I assure you if you see the women in Ghana and you compare to the one you going for, you would be have a change of heart as you would meet down to earth women, God fearing and well educated ladies that would make you be indecisive. so my best advice is go to Ghana with the expectation of going for holiday and enjoy yourself where you would get to know the culture and people. u don't need to take money with you to be scared of getting robbed, just take you visa card and when ever you need money get to the atm, much safer and rest assured. enjoy your trip mate.
    in fact, there are millions of ghanaian ladies in the state so why hassle yourself to go to ghana and bring one while there are at you door step?

  • Bill said

    Hi Will and thanks so much for your reply,it helps to know from someone who has been there such as yourself,I wonder if Im being scammed but I will never know unless I go and meet her I guess,and if I don't I will always be wondering what if? She says she is white,her pics are very beautiful but I realize the old saying when it seems too good to be true it usually is,you have put me at ease with saying Ghana is a safe country,however I did read somewhere about not using credit or debit cards there because of a lot of financial fraud,did you have any trouble at all? Its kind of scary going to a strange country and I told her this,she swears she and her sister will meet me at the airport to welcome me and swears the pictures she sends me are her real pictures and I would recognize her and her sister,in the pics she sends me she is beautiful and its just hard to believe I guess,but how will I ever know if I don't go and see for myself? She said she would come to the US with me but some agent of some sort emailed me a price for airfare,visa, passport,etc and it came to around $4500,I really don't believe it would cost nearly that much,do you?There are so many dishonest people its hard to believe anyone,I just don't believe it would cost that much,she told me I could even come next week and meet her to see she is real but Im not prepared to go just yet,I have never even been out of the U.S. and of course I would have to get a passport,would I also have to get a visa? Thanks so much for your help,I just don't want to make an idiot out of myself lol My kids and everyone says I am being scammed and if I go and she has been dishonest with me I will never hear the end of it,but,I guess I question,what if she is telling me the truth? Well, one thing is for sure time will always tell,again thanks so much for your help and advise

  • Kiwi Marshall said

    I am looking forward to meeting my future husband in Accra this March. Is it too soon to stay at his house? I never been to Ghana so I'm a little anxious about it. He assures me I will be safe. Should I let my heart lead the way?

  • Kaakyire Busumuru said

    I have been observing what you guys have been talking about. Ghana is like every other country in the world, there are one or two criminal cases here and there but it is not as you guys want to portray. In fact there are truly and genuine people in Ghana. Ghanaians are warm and very very welcoming. Am a Ghanaian and am proud. We hate crime, hostility, violence but as you might know Ghana can't get raid of every criminal activity just like any other country in the world. Look out the real people from Ghana and deal with them. Remember it you are greedy and always want things cheap, you are likely to fall in the hands of those criminal. Ghana is good and calm. Thank you.

  • Bill said

    Kaakyire,thats so good to hear,I think I will enjoy it there when I visit

  • Soccerandbooks❤️Ghana said

    I wonder if most of the commenters have even been to Ghana. How do u trust online dating websites! If u are so freaked out about scams u should not even be cheating with people u don’t no. I have been to Ghana and there is the occasional bribe but the us goverment lies so umm...yeah! Plus what are u to judge on someone who loves u and u are talking behind her back when she is being kind, u do not deserve her!????. Like the other guy said actually talk to the people don’t just look online look in to their faces and talk to them before u come and judge them.

  • Stevr said

    What is the cost of flying someone from Ghana to here?

  • GhanaRootsAmerican said

    Bill,
    Ghana has places with internet service. Why don't you Skype with her or ask her to send you a video message? Going to Ghana for someone you aren't sure even exists is crazy!! That is too far to travel to be catfished. Another suggestion is meeting in another country that way you will both be on unfamiliar ground which lessens the chance of being taken advantage of. That may also be an easier Visa process, I would imagine getting a Visa to the U.S would be a lengthy process. Just keep an open mind for love but be wise and not desperate.

  • Patty said

    Ghana was for my first trip there very pleasant. I went to spend time with someone I met on line and it was wonderful but on the most part they want money, love because they all dream of living in the United States. Having said that a Vista application is $60 American dollars. But the part is unless they have good jobs, spouses and children or strong ties to the country they deny about 75 % of all application. It is extremely difficult to get a visa. If you hire a consultant to help they want $20,000 US dollars to help get that visa and that is expensive to come for 60 days. Unless you have several years and alot of money it is hard to bring them here as financee and spouses.

  • Mad Grandson said

    My grandmother moved to africa as retirement and has been robbed once while away at a wedding and once while she was home luckily her bedroom door was locked so then she moved to another part of ghana i guess 5 miles away from the First house. And recently came home to the states for dr appointments and what not well her helper she hired called to tell her the new house was robbed aswell they used ladders to gain entry thru 2nd story. I personally would never recommend going or living there if this is how they are going to treat an old lady who's there for retirement an old lady who has done nothing but give them school supplies, food, generators, water for years long before she decided to retire there and even as she retired there given people bikes and everything

  • Kwaku Asamoah said

    Ghana is a safe country. Safer than East and Southern African countries, US, UK combined. One bad experience shouldn't be the yardstick for assessing the safety of Ghana. If that's the yardstick we want to use, then no country is safe, including the countries of those of you bashing Ghana comes from.

  • Sidney said

    This is BS. I feel safer in Ghana than I feel most places in the US, and as a short white woman I definitely stick out in the crowd. There are bad people everywhere, but relative to everywhere else I have traveled, I have never felt more safe anywhere in my life than in Ghana. I lived there for a year and a half and traveled all over the country, so I didn't just have one great weekend. I am actually kind of offended by this article and lack of any stats or evidence backing it up.

  • Edward Glover said

    Can you go to prison or jail for not paying internet bill, I've an internet girl friend begging me to send $500 to get. Tried to send $100 money gram blocked it. Saying that area was being investigated at time. So in Ghana can you go to jail for not paying an internet bill

  • Natalie said

    I can't believe Ghana is getting tarnished like this; one of the most accepting and caring nations known for their vibrant and accommodating natures. Please do not believe all that is said; I have been many times and have never felt that my life was being threatened; you may get the odd person asking to help you carry your things or offer assistance of any kind but never have I known for there to be a risk of violence and danger, (you can simply reject their offer and that should be that). Please find out more information from people who have been to Ghana before to find out the truth and best places to stay within your price range. !

  • Phil said

    I love to travel to Ghana. But I heard that if someone are arrested by police for any reasons, the police will send the arrested person to court for trial and eventually get hung.
    I don't know if this is true. Can someone give me a good true answer.

  • Edem said

    Hi all, I am a proud Ghanaian and I had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world but I tell no place like home.
    Having gone through most comments here, I can see the level of prejudice that most of you have about my dear Country Ghana.
    In fact, I believe most of you will bear with me that there are few bad nuts in every country. Ghana has a population of close to 29million and 10 regions and the bad nuts (our police working tirelessly to clamp down) are insignificant compared to the warming, loving and hospitable mass majority.
    We have a lot of interesting and remarkable tourist sites ( from the beaches, mountains, lagoons, rivers, wildlife, hotels, castles, fortes etc.) across all the regions of the country and I can assure you that they are safe. Just to also mention that we are very RELIGIOUS.
    If you want to learn more about how slaves in the centuries were sold out and treated until they arrive to the Europe, America etc. The historic foot prints, castles, slave markets are their to view.
    Most hotels accept DEBIT VISA/MASTER CARDS and due to the intervention of financial inclusiveness Most services now receive payment via Mobile Money( an electronic money transfer from phones) so you need not carry Cash. For towns rides you can enjoy a cool ride with UBER.
    @Phil, please Our Court system do not sentence culprits with death sentence ( We don't hung people in Ghana). I am 31 years old and since I was born I have never heard anyone being sentenced to death.
    I am also one of the fortunate ones who have worked for an American International NGO here in Ghana (Grameen Foundation USA) and had Americans, other nationals as colleagues. I have also worked on quite some number of USAID funded projects here in Ghana. Example (ACDI-VOCA ADVANCE I, II)
    Kindly note that there is a Vibrant American Embassy and other Embassies of other Nationals that are very responsive to their citizens just as we have on in the United States.
    And just to state, Ghana is the 2nd largest exporter of Cocoa/Cacao from which most chocolates you enjoy comes from.
    Just to add, for meals we have a lot of varieties and good chefs who are able to fix the international diets as well.
    Thank you very much.

  • Sherry West said

    I have a friend from US who was about to leave Ghanna. All of the sudden she was stopped and searched. They pulled cocaine out of her pocket. This person has never used drugs, ever. It was a setup. Now she’s in jail and they are asking 280k for her release. Any suggestions?

  • Doss said

    This site i think is the real scam.
    They write fake stories about Great countries and try to sell Travel Insurance to the readers.
    It is failing to see that Ghana is even safer than being in some parts of the US.
    Safety is not in military power, its in the tendency of the people to commit crime.

  • Paka Kince said

    Interesting comments I have read so far. First of all I suggest that you have a contact you trust. More of an organization that assists tourists and do third party services like (http://traveltoghana.org/contact) to help you out. Most cases I have read here are scam cases and T2G can help you out but these cases should in no way be hastily generalized to the whole country.
    You will be amazed to meet people in all caliber of Life who are ready to make you feel at home. Like everywhere, you must be careful but to be overly concerned about your safety in Ghana is like wanting to know how ugly the blue sky is.

    Have a great stay in Ghana and please get a contact.

  • vera Jackson said

    yes I have a friend in ghana that is trying to come home everytime he gets money for a airline ticket he gets robbed. he said next time he will have police stay with him until he gets on the plane. hope that works he said that is a bad place

  • Zoe said

    Hello I’m a young teacher from Ghana and a Christian as well I have been reading your comments about Ghana and will like to share my thoughts as well . Perception about Ghana and people here depends on where you stay any part of the country is not safe . Talk about internet date please it’s a scam no serious intellectual woman will spend her time on internet looking for a man . As a young lady we all enjoy social media but to go further to ask money from foreigners please it’s a scam be careful even we the locals are being robbed here how much more ladies asking for money you have no idea about asks you . A lot of these fraudsters are online they will give you good details about Ghana and the ladies used as scam artists they know what they want they just want to psyche you . Another thing is Ghanaians are hospitable to travelers I won’t lie to you about that I have lived in Best places in Ghana and happen not to encounter much crime I have lived in worse places too and has seen people robbed rapped kidnapped killed for rituals and other vices if I only live in those good places I guess I will 100% defend the country to be safe wait it’s psychological . It’s a nice place to visit for vacation but if it’s because of a lady my guy please forget it you were scammed before you arrrived few Ghanaians have good intentions for being travelers guide just few ! the rest want to launder your money . I have met white guys on social media asking for a relationship I will encourage that you guys be vigilant it’s not every lady’s picture you see on social media that’s real some are boys visit Ghana if you know someone here very well . Thank you

  • Adrian said

    I was to a women from Ghana she said she was left gold and need my help she had 3 lawyers over there I was talking to it was all bullshit did me for $30,000+

  • Martin said

    I met a Ghana lady and spent about £12000 she is from Accra she wants money to get out from hospital as she cannot pay the bill told her no said about having gold bullion get the black one American Express card send the number so the certificate can be sent she thinks I'm divorcing my wife honest answer from a Ghana resident

  • Aku Shika Queenin said

    Just like in the United States, you want to take the same precaution as you would traveling to another country.

    I moved to Ghana from the States and have been here 8 months. I'm a single woman and all of my time here have been spent with Ghanaians, acclimating myself to the culture. Not once have I felt unsafe at night or in the daytime, the people are friendly and always willing to help you.

    My only precautions would be about preparing for life in Ghana.

    If you are looking for love online WHY? IF IT'S A REAL connection, you definitely would be talking to the mother, father or damn near the whole family at the 2 week or 1 month mark. Family and prospective a perspective spouse is a serious thing in Ghana. Don't get caught up in the romance thing because not only Ghanaians but a mass of other countries want to come to the U.S

    They must be better before you try to get into a relationship. If money is asked of you constantly.....there's your answer.

    Enjoying Life on the WestSiiiide of Ghana West Africa! 🇬🇭

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