Liberian crime concerns and safety tips

Unsurprisingly, Liberia has an incredibly high crime rate.

Most of these crimes tend to be opportunity-based, and most occur at night. The UN has both the UN Mission UNMIL, and UN Police, UNPOL, in the area, but they have no authority to arrest and don't carry weapons, making them largely useless. In other words, don't assume you're safe.

Potential Liberian Police problems

The Liberian National police does have a strong presence in Monrovia, but it has limited resources and its presence outside of Monrovia is small.

The police can actually be a bit of a problem. While they're nowhere near as corrupt as they used to be, some members of the police force still stop foreign travellers and not release them until some form of bribe has been delivered, so watch out for that.

Make sure you have a copy of your passport on you at all times, so if local authorities do decide to question you, you have readily available proof of identity and nationality.

Where is it not safe in Liberia?

Liberia is one of those places where you need to be on your guard almost everywhere. Monrovia gets much worse at night, but it can be dangerous during the day as well.

Areas occupied and frequented by foreigners aren't regarded as safe, even though they are (marginally) safer than other areas.

Mamba Point and Sinkor in Monrovia, where foreigners tend to stay, have had many reported incidents of mugging, assault and other crimes. Foreign workers aren't safe in their locals either, and burglaries do occur in hotels.

West Point, one of the many slum areas in the capital, Monrovia is also one of the most dangerous places in Liberia. In addition to the prevalent crime, diseases like tuberculosis, gastro and more frequently infect the 80,000 residents which live there, no thanks to the poor sanitation conditions present.

Theft and armed extortion has happened in taxis and really, if the dilapidated state of the taxis in Monrovia wasn't enough to make you steer clear, the fact that taxi drivers tend to rob foreigners should be.

It's a good idea to stay away from public transportation altogether.

Don't travel outside of Monrovia at night. The roads are absolutely terrible and the countryside has more than enough criminals with automatic weapons who won't hesitate to use them.

Rape risk in Liberia

Sadly, Liberia has one of the highest rates of rape in the entire world. There have been numerous incidents of rape and attempted rape on expatriate women, many of whom worked for charity organisations of the UN.

If you're female, don't believe that because you're there to help, you won't be harmed. In fact, women are advised not to travel to Liberia at all.

Escaped prisoner threats in Liberia

Liberia has many mass escapes from its prisons and those escapees are rarely recaptured.

This means that there are a lot of men more desperate than usual, and are highly likely to be armed and looking for a getaway vehicle. If you're approached by strangers, while driving, be very careful and make sure your windows are up and the doors locked.

This especially applies both in high population areas, and when driving off the main roads.

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36 Comments

  • Samukai Sarnor said

    Phil, I am Liberian born and raised in Liberia. I spent my entire childhood in Grand Cape Mount county and moved 20 miles outside monrovia (Gbondoi Town) at the age of 14 to get an education.

    You may have been to Liberia, but your description is NOT accurate.

    Liberia is a very poor country, everyone knows that. Bribes to the police, yes, that happens a lot. Burglaries in Monrovia are very common, but in the interior, NOT a chance. Oh yes, don't leave your stuff unattended in Monrovia because it is going to get stolen.

    You said "Sadly, Liberia has one of the highest rates of rape in the entire world". Bloody lie. During the civil war, yes, there were lots of sexual assaults and rape, but as of 2005, rape cases have decreased to less than a college campus in America. You are more likely to get raped on a college campus in America than in Liberia. Check your sources and find any journal article or accredited source and see if Liberia make the top 20-30 when it comes to rape. America is among the top 5.

    You mentioned, "The roads are absolutely terrible and the countryside has more than enough criminals with automatic weapons who won't hesitate to use them". I agree the roads are terrible, but automatic weapon, I mean seriously? People in the interior are asleep by 9:00 PM. The only people that are up by 10:00 are with hunters who have shot guns with barely any shots.

    Look, I encourage you take this down. I am determined and I will follow you just around the world once more.

  • Sandra said

    Um, the guy who commented before is completely wrong. Not sure when he lived in Liberia, But the rape that goes on their is beyond a college campus. 50% of the women have been raped, 80% is unemployed, and there are areas where people eat human flesh and human hearts. 20% has eaten some part of a human before. I forget if this was in a certain area, or the country all together, but I would guess just an area.

  • Matkola said

    Liberia is extremely dangerous for indigenous and foreign people. I personally know a US citizen and his Liberian wife who have had to flee Liberia in 2016, as a result of attempts on their life! The best advice to heed, is to stay well away!

  • Kevin said

    I have traveled regularly to Liberia over the past three to four years. Crime, yes. Stealing is everywhere. But violence with automatic weapons and cannibalism are things of the past. Keep your valuables close, don't give in to intimidation and enjoy Liberia!

  • Nemen Kpahn said

    I find your description of Liberia and its people disgusting, exaggerated and extremely biased. It is just disgusting the way your writer tried to portray Liberia in such a negative light. The people of Liberia are warm, friendly and sociable. Liberians will go out of their way to make foreigners comfortable and welcome. The security situation in Monrovia is no worse than Accra or even Chicago. It just sad that the raffish tendency of the writer travel guide overshadows everything about Liberia.
    Very disgusting piece of trash.

  • Mark said

    When in liberia do steer clear of friends, family or strangers looking to scam you into buying a piece of land. 95 percent of the time this is property that is already signed and paid for. Local government won't do a thing to help you and at the end of the day you walk away with a total loss

  • Richard said

    Don`t scare others , Liberia is a friendly nation with nice people. Talking about crime Liberia has far less criminals. put your head together and think about the USA, Nigeria,India and the BLOODY country you come from.Nonsense. You are a complete NONSENSE to the world.

  • Kriz T. Jeremiah said

    I don't know at which time and year that the writer was describing Liberia?
    But from my view, Liberia is at a page of turning the table around in history.
    If you check in recent times like from 2005 to present, you will find out that
    95% of Liberian girls are in school, young men of the age 18 - 35 in school
    and are involved in the transformation process.
    Local market women are always willing to provide foreigners with the best fruits
    and vegetables.
    Transportation and accommodation for people traveling in and out of Liberia is
    getting better by the day.

    The government and the peace loving people of Liberia are always trying to encourage
    local and foreign investors into the country.
    I strongly believed that by the end of 2017-2020, Liberia will be among the countries
    tourist will wish to visit because everyone will want to see the beauty of the Beaches,
    Blue Sea shores, Lakes, Rivers, Mountain views, Rain forest and reserved wild animals
    in the Sapo park.

    I really want to encourage you all to stop mixing Liberia's past with the present we are enjoying
    today.
    As we all work together, Liberia is getting better.

  • Robert Hitler said

    I'm totally confused right now.

  • bobby fresh said

    So, like, should I go? ;)

  • Martin said

    I have a Liberian girlfriend who is very religious and the most beautiful women I have ever met. I will marry her and she will come to Australia Sydney to live and work and start a family together. I would some day visit Liberia and attend her church where she sings and dull her family friend go. Yes I would be nervous to go judging by a lot of comments but there also seems a brighter and more possitive future for Liberia on a whole. Based on what I know and researched I would consider travelling to Liberia in the near future.

  • andy said

    If you travel then there is allways danger, but liberia is safe if you behave normal. people will help you and things will be better every time you go.
    CRIME IS EVERY WHERE IN THE WORLD AND ALSO IN LIBERIA , BUT IT IS NOT WORSE THAN AUSTRALIA OR V.N

  • varlee said

    Im going back to Liberia some day back i love it there i 10/10 would like other people to try it out that country is nise i also lost my vcard there too

  • Sujeewa said

    There are crimes in each and every corner of the world so nobody can highlight one country or one city , generally everywhere is almost same regarding crimes and rapes are concern

  • Rosemary said

    Hi all, stop scaring me with your comments . i''m visiting Liberia in a couple of months and your comments aren't nice at all. The people of Liberia are friendly people they visited our country and they really loved it ,they also love the people as well. I believe crime happens everywhere in the world even in my country. Lets all try in our own little ways to make the world a better place for all whether black or white. I believe there are beautiful stuff in Liberia, most rare gems are found underneath the earth after escavating diff. soils and dirts. Not withstanding i'll still visit and enjoy every moment while it lasts. Lastly''something must kill a man'' so my people say, remember this is life, we are all not getting out of it alive, so live everyday like its your last even though i understand we all don't wanna die soon, try to put a smile on someone's face everyday, let's all try to make the world a better and safe place for humanity. so instead of talking down on one part of the world lets see how we can contribute to make it better, i wonder what contribution this writer has made towards Liberia? The world knows what happened to Liberia and i don't know what the writer's country ever contributed to stopping the war in Liberia or how they helped their economy grow?.

  • Eric said

    The description is accurate - anyone who says otherwise has not visited Liberia.
    I've travelled to 42 countries, including 12 in Africa, and I have never stayed anywhere as dangerous and unpredictable as Liberia. In the 3 months I was working there we heard of six rapes in our general vicinity, four of which were also murders, the police are entirely powerless against the armed gangs ran by the local 'Poro" society, a crime syndicate based on voodoo.
    We saw a human torso in the road between villages, and were told by our local guide 'you should get out of Liberia, when it spreads there are foreigners then every robber from miles around will come to find you'.

    Police - useless and corrupt
    taxis - controlled by the gangs.
    Rapes and violence - and everyday occurrence.
    There's no 'good' way to portray it - yes the people with families were nice, but they were all afraid - and that doesn't outweigh the horrific and violent aura of everyday life.

  • Buppie said

    Wow. Yet another white traveler from the West writing something derogatory about an African nation (quelle surprise!). Not only is this article disgusting and racist, it’s also extremely harmful and reckless.

    So you’re telling me you went to ONE city in Liberia (i.e., Monrovia) and decided you knew enough about an entire country and its people to produce a write-up about this nation?

    Also, where are the the links to resources to back-up any of your claims? Were you too busy searching for royalty-free images of slums on Shutterstock to add them to this article? I mean, seriously? Do yourself a favor and take this down. Thanks.

  • Quarshie Justice Kwadzo said

    I wanted to visit Liberia next month and I will be happy to see the beaches and other things.

  • Benedict said

    I'm at a loss for words, a completely disgusting article. A writer who with "so much knowledge of the entire nation" didn't learn a single good thing about the place and its people, DAMN! "Foreign workers aren't safe in their locals either"? And yet they travel to the country, go to night clubs, bars and other entertainment centers at odd hours of the night. Automatic weapons and all that BS! You have to be kidding Mr. Writer. Have some dignity, take this garbage down and give chance to people who know the place better to write.

  • Maja said

    I was offered a job in Liberia and almost turned it down becuase my dad read this article and freaked out. I'm so glad I got advice from people on the ground and have been living and working in Monrovia for three months now. There are some security concerns in the evening time, we are told not to wonder the streets after 9 or 10 pm. We follow this advice and nothing bad has happened and we have not heard of anything bad happening apart from petty theft. If you Google 10 most dangerous countries to be a woman you can find USA is number 10 and Liberia is not even on the list! Yes many Liberian women have tragically suffered during the civil war and still today. Top 10 most dangeours countries for women: Inida, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, DRC , Yemen, Nigeria and USA. So I think this article is completely outdated and inflammitory. The country is improving year by year and there are now good driver/rental companies- I use one called GAP business and there is even a reliable modern shuttle bus to the airport run by Infinity Shuttle Services. Tourist spots such as at surf camp at Robertsport are opening up. These are the things you should be writing about not some outdated crap.

  • rajnikant patel said

    I wanted to visit Liberia next month so is safe place i think but I'm totally confused right now. So,plz tell me should I go or not ? ;)

  • Bob Travers said

    According to this documentary which was only in 2012 it doesn't look safe in the slightest, quite the contrary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRuSS0iiFyo

  • Mark Barlee said

    I have been in Liberia for the pass ten years now and I want to let the world know that, there are no armrobbers in Liberia as compared to other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benni etc. I have traveled to all the above mentioned countries and I speaks both English and French so I don't want anyone to lie about that, in Liberia you can find money changer on the streets but you don't see that in the above mentioned African countries. As I'm writing now, I live in Liberia and I'm a money changer...

  • FRANCES said

    It is very interesting to hear all of the comments about Liberia. It's scary to hear all the things people are saying. I lived in Liberia for 11 years, (1967-1978) and it was the happiest time of my life. I'm 59 now and would love to go back, but listening to all the negative comments has me worried if its safe. When I lived there you slept with doors and windows opened. We lived in the rural area though.

  • Marta said

    Myself, sister, brother and sister-in-law from the UK are planning to visit in February 2019 for two weeks, plans are Monrovia for 4 nights Buchanan for 4-5 nights, beach resort for 3 then back to Monrovia for the remainder.... regardless of what i have read above...any advice or recommendations on accommodation and travel would be appreciated, yes - i do understand we need to be careful, but reading the above the good outweighs the negative!

  • Alexander Kla Oguidi said

    Liberia is safer places in the world, my entire family and i were just there this gone August we spent over 5 weeks, we were out night time with our 5 children eating in restaurants, i drove in Monrovia without any sort of harrasement from anybody, I know Liberians to be very friendly peoples, Maybe during the civil war, but i can't comment on that, but Liberia is very safe anyone to travel, the only negative thing i experience is that peoples are begging for help which happen everywhere in the world.

    i will advise anyone who wishes to Monrovia, please do not listen to this idiotic poster because they got no cruel of what they are saying. Liberia is a safe place to travel enjoy.

  • Pete said

    I was the GM of a mining company and spent 3 years in Liberia from 2012 to 2015. Not sure what the few articles are hoping to achieve but they are so far from the truth. I’ve walked West Point looking for supplies and while it is a very poor area I never had one issue. I’ve also walked the downtown Monrovia area with no problems. Yes, people will ask for money and give you a story but you just say you don’t ha e anything. Like any city you will get scammers or a bit of crime but I never had one issue. Those stories are fact based by no facts. I had a great experience in Liberia and miss it very much.

  • Bhavesh Manek said

    When I got first opportunity to work in Nigeria , many of my relatives , family members , friends advice me not to go because it is not safe. I went and stayed in Nigeria for 4 years and no wahala at all. Infact out of 4 years 1 year I have worked in a company owned by Nigerians. In 90 total staff I was only Indian rest all Nigerian. The apts which was given to me was in compound where total 9 apts were there and 8 we're Nigerian and only 1 me. I did not find any problem in that also. Now I am getting opportunity to work in Liberia so I was reading this and saw mixed reviews. More bad less good so I am confused. Can any geniune Liberian local can guide me pls

  • Sammy said

    what ever people talk about Liberia I am planning to go there...I am Congolese from DRC but actually I live in Malawi..Boom! life is to shot I want to enjoy the nature....see u soon Liberia in june 2019

  • Lizzie Johnson said

    Hi I'm from USA I was planning a trip to Liberia I reading on the country to what it is like there or if I would like it is it happy place to visit.

  • drippydez said

    my heart goes out to mama liberia and all of its people, before the war in 1990 they had a beautiful 5 star hotel on the beach that the war destroyed .the cannibalism was also a war-inspired act. eating hearts before battle. no wonder the crime was up, no toilets left everything destroyed ... no doubt about it not gonna be easy to fix it , that war destroyed a beautiful country

  • Nomad said

    I arrived in Monrovia on October 10, 1992, for those of you who knows or remembers, it was 5 days before the operation Octopus started. On and off spent 5 years in Liberia and then Sierra Leone in the midst of civil wars. Used to personally know Amos C. Sawyer, Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson, George Boley and Alhaji Kromah. I saw it all. The Liberian people suffered as not so many other people in this world did. Yet they preserved their dignity and love for their country.

    My advice, travel. Be careful, do not get involved in shady dealings, be aware of your surroundings. If something sounds too good to be true, it is 100% bad. Explore Liberia, get yourself some local friends. Don't treat locals like trash, and you'll be more than OK.

    And yes, I'm very white. Have a nice trip.

  • Stella Fuerst said

    Dear All

    I am a 65 year old German lady, just coming back from a trip to Liberia. I had read all these comments, but my passion to visit unusual destinations had motivated me to venture out into, what was widely described on the www as a dangerous country.

    My findings: This was a very different and entirely positive experience of Africa:

    People are very friendly and helpful, a white tourist is regarded as a "foreigner", while a black African visitor is called an "alien"- both are treated with friendliness and respect, absolutely NOT perceived as "golden geese". You can travel in total peace!

    I have happily lived in Johannesburg for 17 years, believe me, Monrovia and Liberia are much safer. Even after dark I have never felt unsafe or witnessed people sending out strange glances at us.
    As a matter of fact, we had to have a tyre repaired in a remote village at 11 pm and felt 100 % save just mingling with the people in the dark.

    Roadbloks are absolutely NOT harassing tourists or locals (as far as I could see), the roads out of town are in reasonable condition, compared to other African countries.

    Communication is very easy: People understand standard English without problems, after a few days it is quite easy to understand their pidgin. If not, Liberians will always help you to get, what you want anyway! Never before in Africa it was so easy for me to shop alone in a local market!

    The supermarkets of Monrovia and also shops at petrol stations in far away places are well stocked: Campari, German chocolates and Swiss Cheese plus a lot more delicacies, than one would expect.

    Food in restaurants is delicious and well presented, I could witness throughout the country that in the wake of Ebola people have learned more than the basic principles of hygiene: Every taxi has a hand sanitizer ready, food is presented in a very hyginic way.

    Conclusion: Do not hesitate, visit Liberia! Just use your common sense and you will enjoy this up to now rather uncommon destination!

    PS: Probably Liberia is not really "Africa for Beginners", you should be familiar with African bureaucracy, have learned to be patient and diplomatic, get in advance the relevant information for a trip, not expect first world standards in order not to become frustrated!

    If you are digging into the history, do not be surprised to be confronted with the "ghosts" of Liberia's past.

  • Keith said

    WELL, as a black american I have not been to any African country. Liberia interests me because it was formed by ex slaves. It was once a USA territory. The capital is named after a US President. Me being a history buff. I thought what would it look like today if it had remained an American territory. I am sure Liberia has problems. A lot of African countries do. But, I believe every African American should visit and support the local economy. Otherwise the problems this gentlemen describes will continue. My only concern is the health risk. I can't find anything about where West African countries stand with Ebola. I am not really concerned about the "so called" other dangers. I am a black American whose fore parents endured every kind of danger the world has seen. I could never fear Africa since it was America that kidnapped, raped, and tortured my fore parents. Growing up in America makes you battle tested. So I will visit the home of my ancestors.

  • Geena said

    This article and comments section were the biggest deterrent to me traveling to Liberia. As a young woman, I was totally thrown off reading this and began to regret my decision to visit.

    HOWEVER,

    I was so pleasantly surprised by Liberia. The people are friendly, Mamba Point (as mentioned in the article) felt very safe and the hospitality was outstanding. I never had a moment where I felt threatened, provided I exercised the same caution I would traveling to any developing country. Liberia has such an interesting history and is still growing into a location that would interest tourists, but if you want to travel there, I highly recommend doing so.

    Liberia is no different to somewhere like Mexico. I don't think it's reasonable to take such a fierce stance on whether it's 100% safe or littered with machine guns. It is a place where you act respectably, sensibly and acknowledge the risk factor. Most places in the world have risks and are full of good and bad individuals.

    There's no need to vilify Liberia. It's not unique in it's danger, it's unique in it's landscapes, wildlife, history, culture and beauty. I've never seen anywhere so green and I've rarely experienced such generosity whilst traveling. From someone who traveled in a group of 2 young females, I really enjoyed my time in Liberia and I know that if there was less criticism of Liberia online, the country's tourism would have a chance to grow and naturally, the levels of crime would begin to decrease. Let's not stand in their way, they've already had their fair share of hardship.

    Don't be deterred. Travel is an adventure and a privilege. Bon voyage!

  • Yemi Majekodunmi said

    I have a Liberian girl friend Paola,I'm visiting her this year.Liberia is great.

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