Is Dubai Safe For Americans?

Are you wondering whether Dubai is safe for Americans and Westerners alike?

Dubai a city in the United Arab Emirates has become a magnet for travelers from all corners of the globe. However, in this unstable world, many people are asking the question: “Is Dubai safe for Americans and Westerners alike?”

The answer is yes, Dubai is safe for Americans and Westerners and there are many of them living here. Moreover, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. According to Numbeo, Dubai is the number 7 safest city in the world and the United Arab Emirates is the second safest country in the world.

In this blog post, I will dive deep into the safety of Dubai based on some categories, like crime, weather, terrorism, safety for women, and families, and whether there are any areas to avoid.

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Dubai with Burj Khalifa in the background

Is Dubai Safe For Americans?

Most of the tourists visiting Dubai are concerned about whether Dubai is a safe city. From my own experience, I can tell you that Dubai is a very safe city, it is more safe than cities in the USA or Europe. What makes it so safe are the strict rules set up by the government. Only by not following the rules, Dubai can become unsafe for you.

So let’s see the safety in Dubai by categories.

Crime in Dubai

Just because Dubai is a safe city, it doesn’t mean there is no crime. There is definitely some crime, but is much lower than in some other places in the world.

90 percent of the citizens are expats living in Dubai on residency. In case they commit some kind of crime that is found and proven, they would not only get a high fine and go to prison but also be deported from the country.

People who live here usually have a good life and good salaries, so why they would destroy it for themselves? I said usually because there are for sure people with minimal wages and their lives are not that great. Not everyone is rich in Dubai.

However, your belongings are much safer in Dubai than in some other cities in the world. People don’t steal so much. You can sit on a bench or a restaurant’s terrace without constantly watching your bag next to you. 

When you lose something, many times it happens you will find it in the same place even after a few hours. This can’t possibly happen in the USA or Europe.

When you go to the beach you should not take valuables with you of course and don’t leave your bag completely unattended, however, I usually go swimming and leave my bag on the shore while watching it from the water. 

I felt very safe in Dubai even at night. While I wouldn’t walk on unknown streets alone and behave irresponsibly, I did walk alone in certain parts of Dubai feeling calm and comfortable. Back at home, I don’t do that as you can never know what could happen to you. 

The law in the USA and Europe is not so strict. There are drug addicts, homeless and drunk people everywhere, but you don’t find them in Dubai. This however doesn’t mean that you can’t be assaulted or raped if you are behaving unreasonably.

 

Sandstorm in Dubai

Weather in Dubai

Dubai is located in the desert and until now no dangerous natural disasters have been happening there. However, the climate is changing and what will happen in the future is unknown.

The things you need to be careful about are the heat, strong currents in the sea, and sand storms. 

Temperatures in Dubai can rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit/50 degrees Celsius during the summer months of July and August. Therefore if you are visiting Dubai around summer, you should not spend too much time outside, use sun protection creme, drink a lot of water, and cover your head.

Some other months the sun is also strong, so never forget about cream with a high SPF number and stay hydrated.

When you go swimming in the sea, don’t go far from the shore. Keep the distance based on your swimming capabilities. While I have never experienced strong currents here, I know of people who did and it was not easy to come back. There are lifeguards on most of the beaches, but don’t risk it.

Usually, during winter months sandstorms can appear. It all depends on how strong it is, but the sand is blowing everywhere throughout the whole city, so if you have to go out, you will have to cover your head and face with a scarf and use sunglasses. Also, visibility on the road is poor and roads become dangerous.

Rain was never an issue in Dubai, however as the globe is changing, there tend to be heavy rains happening during winter and roads can get flooded. Sometimes strong thunders come along with the rain.

 

Terrorism in Dubai

In the past Dubai was safe from terrorism, however this doesn’t apply anymore. Due to the situation in the Middle East, the Gulf region and UAE have been threatened by terrorist groups.

The danger is coming from the militant groups in Yemen using missiles and drones to attack the countries. At the moment, the UAE is under a medium level of risk from terrorism. 

 

Government’s law

As already mentioned, Dubai law and the law of the whole UAE are strong, therefore the country is safe for citizens and tourists. However, if you decide not to follow the law and the rules, you may cause yourself trouble.

Here are some rules that you should follow while in Dubai.

– Dress code. While women do not have to wear hijabs, you should dress appropriately when you visit shopping malls, restaurants, and other indoor places. While outside you can wear shorts, sleeveless tops, short skirts, and dresses, but make sure they are not too short. Men should not walk shirtless in public.

– Drinking alcohol. Make sure you don’t drink alcohol outside on the streets and you are also not drunk on the streets making noises and getting attention. Alcohol is allowed in designated places like hotels, bars, restaurants, and in your private home. Remember never drink and drive. There is zero tolerance.

– Swearing and rude gestures are not allowed. Don’t send messages swearing at someone as these messages can take you to prison. Also, don’t speak badly about the government.

– Drugs in Dubai and the whole UAE are a big NO.

– Public display of affection is not allowed, so stay away from kissing and more intimate things in public. Holding hands between a man and a woman is fine.

– Eating, drinking, and chewing gum are not allowed on public transportation.

– Taking pictures of governmental buildings is not allowed. If you want to take a picture of someone on the street, you should ask for their permission.

I wrote about how strict Dubai is here.

 

On highway in Dubai during sunset

Getting around Dubai

Dubai is not a walkable city. Therefore if you want to go from one place to another, you need to have a car, use a taxi, Uber, or public transportation.

You can easily rent a car in Dubai if you wish to drive. However, do it only if you are an experienced and comfortable driver. Driving in Dubai is not easy. There are many lanes on the highway and people drive quite fast.

I would not say that driving in Dubai is more dangerous than in the USA or Europe. Maybe more dangerous than in the UK where drivers are polite and tolerant to each other. 

I heard people saying that roads in Dubai are dangerous and drivers are speeding and don’t stop for pedestrians. I would say this is not true. Yes, maybe some drivers don’t follow the speed limit, but I found drivers always stop at crossings for pedestrians, which is not the case in some Western countries.

Again, this is because of the strict punishment when caught by police and the chance of being caught is big as the cameras and police are almost everywhere.

Taxis are commonly used in Dubai and are safe. Just don’t get into very friendly conversation with a driver if you are a woman and sit in the back seat. If you want, there are some taxis designated for women and driven by women drivers. You can recognize them by the pink roof.

Uber is also available in Dubai but prices are higher than prices of city taxis. Read about Uber in Dubai here.

Public transportation in Dubai is very clean and safe any time even at night. Whether you are using the metro, bus, or tram, you will always be safe there.

 

Woman in Dubai Marina at night

Safety for women

Women in Dubai are very safe. Talking from my own experience. As a woman, I always felt much safer in Dubai than in my home country.

There is special attention given to women, for example, there is a specially designated place in the metro train for women and children only, there are taxis for women only and in some places, there are special queues for women. 

What I also experienced was that when we stood in a queue the person working there told us to come to the front of the queue in front of all the men standing there.

However, as a woman, you should be careful about a few things. There are more men than women living in Dubai and as it is a Muslim country, sex before marriage is not allowed. So some men may try to take advantage of you for not being Muslim.

Be careful when you make some contact with men, especially in bars and nightclubs, and always watch your drinks. You may get offered money or expensive things, but they will not be for free.

 

Safety for LGBTQ

Dubai law is strictly against relationships between the same sex. It doesn’t mean you are not allowed to come to Dubai as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, however, do not show it in public. No one need to know about it.

Public display of affection is prohibited even between heterosexual couples, so if you are LGBTQ do not even try it if you don’t want to end up in trouble. If you follow this rule, you are safe in Dubai.

 

Safety for solo travelers

Are solo travelers safe in Dubai? I heard this question so many times. Therefore I would like to emphasize that you are much safer alone in Dubai than anywhere else in the world.

As Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world, with strict rules and cameras all over, you are perfectly safe here exploring on your own. I also visited Dubai as a solo female traveler and I never had any problem here. I visited places I wanted to see, met new people, and had a great time.

If you wish to know more about whether a woman can travel solo to Dubai, check my article here.

 

Wild Wadi water park, Dubai

Safety for families

Dubai and the whole UAE give high attention to families.  There are many amusement parks, water parks, greenery parks, and playgrounds in Dubai all with attention to the family’s lives.

There are many American and Western families traveling to Dubai to enjoy time together. Not only for holidays but many families live here as residents. So all in all as a family with children of all ages you will feel very safe in Dubai.

 

A couple in JBR Dubai in the evening

Safest places and places to avoid in Dubai

Are there any places you should avoid in Dubai? Unfortunately yes. There is one area called Sonapur. There is no reason for you to go there as you can’t see or do anything here. It is close to the airport and it is an area with low-paid workers.

Also, Deira is an area not to completely avoid, as it is the old part of the city where souks and nice hotels are located, but do not wander around this area at night, especially if you are a woman. Other than that, the rest of Dubai is safe.

Let me also mention the safest places where expats and tourists hang out and where you will feel absolutely safe and comfortable.

Dubai Marina is my favorite area in Dubai. You can walk next to the water where yachts park, there are restaurants, cafes, Marina Mall, and even small playgrounds where kids can play. This is the best place to spend your evenings.

Another area is JBR. Except for hotels and private apartments in skyscrapers, you will find a promenade with shops, restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, and JBR Beach here. This is a great area for couples and families where you can spend days and evenings.

Let’s not forget about the Downtown where the iconic Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall are located. Even here you have a lot of opportunities for shopping, enjoying dinner, coffee, shisha, and watching the Dubai Fountain in the evening. If you want to stay Downtown, choose from the best hotels near Dubai Mall here.

 

FAQs: Is Dubai Safe for Americans?

After reading my detailed article about safety in Dubai for Americans and all other nationalities, you must know that Dubai is very safe. However, here are some answers to more questions you may have.

1. Is Dubai safer than the USA?

Yes, definitely. Dubai is much safer than the USA.  Dubai has strict rules which if people don’t follow they pay a high price for it. This leads to safe and responsible behavior of all people living here.

As drugs, drinking on the streets, and guns are not allowed, and homeless people are not on the streets as everyone living here must be on a residence or working visa, Dubai is safer than the USA.

2. Is it safe to walk at night in Dubai?

Yes, walking at night in Dubai is safe. However, don’t forget to respect the culture, dress appropriately as a woman, and do not walk in areas like Deira.

3. Is Abu Dhabi safe?

Yes, Abu Dhabi is safe. Actually, it is safer than Dubai. According to Numbeo Abu Dhabi is the number one safest city in the world.

 

Conclusion: Is Dubai Safe For Americans?

To conclude, Dubai remains a safe destination for American travelers. Its low crime rates, stringent security measures, and emphasis on preserving public safety contribute to the overall sense of security that pervades the city.

However, like any international travel, it is essential if you are an American visiting Dubai to exercise caution, be mindful of local laws and customs, and stay informed about any potential risks. Do familiarize yourself with the cultural norms and respect local traditions to ensure a trouble-free and enjoyable experience.

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