Safety in Qatar

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There are few major concerns when it comes to safety in Qatar, and the country remains an attractive destination for expats.

Confidence in Qatar’s security and political environment was highlighted by the state receiving the rights to host the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup. Developing the infrastructure for the event is likely to remain a priority task for the government in the coming years. The construction of new stadia and hotels will also translate into a massive influx of foreign labourers.

Traditionally, the highest rates of crime have occurred within the immigrant community and there are concerns of an increase in criminal activity in the forthcoming years.

Crime in Qatar

The Qatar police protects the safety of expats and othersCrime rates in Qatar are generally low, but have increased since 2005. Statistics from the Ministry of the Interior reveal that just over 900 criminal cases were logged in 2005. In 2009, this figure jumped to just under 45,000 cases. Nonetheless, the impact on expats has been largely negligible and the highest rates of petty and violent crimes have been reported within the large pool of foreign labourers who are involved in the state's infrastructure development programmes and based in industrial neighbourhoods or labour camps.

Crimes that have affected foreign visitors are mainly petty in nature and include unarmed opportunistic theft, commercial and residential burglary and theft from unattended vehicles. The Qatar police force has acted to safeguard locals and expatriates alike and provides a high standard of security. The force is highly visible and capable.

Financial fraud is a growing concern in Qatar and expats are strongly advised to take precautions in their financial dealings. Credit and debit card fraud also occur; however, the overall threat is no higher when compared to most cities in the West.

Terrorism in Qatar

Qatar is not immune to the threat of Islamist extremist-inspired terrorism. The high number of expatriates in Qatar, particularly Westerners, and the government’s growing involvement in regional political affairs increases the possibility that Qatar may be targeted in the future. The last major terrorist attack occurred in 2005 and the security force's counter-terrorism capability remains good, which lowers the likelihood of attacks being successful in the future.

Protests in Qatar

Qatar was one of a handful of Middle Eastern states that were not affected by the 2011 Arab Spring and its fallout. The government remains popular among the general populace and political opposition is limited and muted. Public protests are rare and when they do occur they are generally peaceful and undisruptive.

Road safety in Qatar

The greatest safety threat to expats in Qatar is road travel. Traffic fatalities are among the leading cause of death in the country. Speeding, disobeying basic traffic laws and poor driving standards are often blamed for the high accident rate. The demographic most involved in accidents are male drivers under the age of 30. Poor visibility during sandstorms and wandering livestock on highways outside of Doha further heightens the overall threat to drivers.

Our Qatar Expert

red24's picture
Cape Town, South Africa
Andre Colling is the Chief Analyst: Middle East and North Africa for red24, a crisis management assistance company providing...

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