Safety in Oman
Oman is one of the most stable countries in the Middle East and has been led by the widely popular Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said since 1970. The elected legislature, the Majlis Al Shura, remains subordinate to the Sultan who wields extraordinary executive power. However, the legislative body has been granted additional powers in recent years in line with a goal to reform the current political system.
Crime in Oman
Crime rates in Oman are low. Crimes that do occur are largely petty in nature and include opportunistic theft and bag snatching. The possibility of expats being targeted increases if they're negligent with valuables (i.e. leave them unattended in public areas).
Expats have reported burglaries in Muscat, but the number of incidents is low and decreases further if basic residential security measures are in place.
Road safety in Oman
Driving in Oman can be dangerous. The traffic accident rate is high compared to the population, and thousands of people are killed or injured annually. The cause of accidents is mostly poor driving, speeding and disregard for basic traffic laws, including among public transport drivers. The road network is well-maintained and well-lit in major cities and along major highways.
The standard of roads and lighting in secondary towns and roads is poor and drivers considering travelling in these areas should rather do so during the day. Travel at night in rural areas is made more dangerous by wandering livestock.
Expats driving in Oman should note that in light of the high number of accidents, traffic laws are strictly enforced and stiff penalties are in place for speeding, driving through red traffic lights and other offences. Penalties can include mandatory jail sentences and heavy fines.
Weather hazards in Oman
A little-known fact (outside of the Arabian Peninsula) is that Oman is occasionally affected by tropical storms or cyclones once or twice a year. The storm systems typically dump high amounts of rain on the country, which result in severe flash flooding. Approaching storms are usually well publicised and expats should heed any and all advice from authorities. Caution is advised in wadis (dry river beds) and near the coastline during tropical storms due to the threat of flash flooding and coastal storm surges respectively.