- Download our Moving to Ghana Guide (PDF)
New arrivals don't need to be overly concerned with safety and security in Ghana. Violent crime rates are relatively low and petty crime can often be avoided simply by being vigilant.
Ghana is fairly safe compared to other African countries, and as long as new arrivals familiarise themselves with relevant issues and take the necessary safety precautions, they should enjoy a safe existence.
Crime in Ghana
Despite Ghana's reputation of being a generally safe country, the influx of people into the cities with limited chances of gainful employment have increased instances of pickpocketing, and residential- and vehicle burglary.
Due to their relative visibility and presumed wealth, foreigners will find themselves targeted more often than locals. It's important to be aware of one's surroundings, especially in crowded marketplaces and when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Walking at night should be avoided where possible.
Ghanaians are renowned for being friendly and helpful toward foreigners, but it is best to keep overly-friendly strangers at arm's length, as petty crime and scams are increasingly common. Pickpocketing and opportunistic crime are a concern and there are certain risk areas where one should exercise extra care. When in a vehicle, doors should be locked and windows kept wound up.
Driving safety in Ghana
One of the most pressing dangers in Ghana is the poor standard of driving. The country has a high road death toll and it's no secret that driving in Ghana can be a stressful experience. Many expats in Ghana hire a full-time driver, though this is a matter of personal preference and many others prefer to navigate the roads themselves.
One safety issue that foreigners driving in Ghana should consider is that any crowds that form after an accident often involve themselves in the situation, which can complicate matters. In these cases, an expat can be vulnerable if driving alone without knowledge of the local language. This is an instance where a local driver would be useful, as they will know how to handle the situation.
The roads are not always well-lit and some are in a state of disrepair. Driving at night should therefore be avoided and those driving on main highways should stay alert in case of road difficulties.
►Read Culture Shock in Ghana to learn about Ghanaian cultural differences
►Transport and Driving in Ghana provides information on the transport options available to expats living in Ghana.
"Almost all compounds have security staff, but this does not preclude theft from your house. Also, road safety can be an issue." Our interview with Chris, an Australian expat in Accra, gives useful advice on safety in Ghana.
"Ghana is generally a peaceful country and there are no dangerous or out of bounds areas. However, there are occasional armed robbery and petty theft incidents reported." Read dual-citizen David's interview for more on security in Ghana.
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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