Is it really that unsafe for british family with kids?

Today my husband got an offer for a job in KL. We know very little about life as an expat there and a lot has changed since we lived in Hong Kong 8 years ago when it was just the 2 of us.

We have 2 kids (very white skin and red hair so will stand out a lot!) and have been researching how safe it is to live in KL with kids.

Every variation of a google search seems to bring up threads or articles about child kidnapping, car jacking, being held at gun point etc.

Is this really the reality of living there? Will the kids and I be safe walking on the streets and driving around without my husband?

We don't want to move to an amazing city like KL and then be stuck inside and unable to explore because we feel scared.

I'd appreciate some insight into what it's really like rather than relying on google which inevitably only brings up the negative stories.

thanks in advance

Unless it's changed in an epic way in the last ten years, it's a heck of a lot safer than London.

Your question is one that gets asked by expats from time to time.

Yes, KL is pretty safe, but you always need to be careful with kids, I mean use common sense, hold their hands in the street and in shopping malls, be careful when getting in and out of your car. And don't trust strangers. Be careful of bag snatchers on motorbikes too. If you can make that second nature then KL is wonderful.

Yes we do hear about sad stories, not just about kids being kidnapped (I remember the kid that got snatched outside Mont Kiara International School and if I recall correctly the child was safely located in Rawang far from the KL city, but also women too such as Canny Ong who was abducted when returning to her car in the carpark at BSC Mall in Bangsar and that ended badly.

I've lived in Hong Kong myself and to be honest I never felt unsafe there with or without kids. I lived in Discovery Bay, my kids went to the French International School and my office was in Central. I never once worried about them getting kidnapped.

To be honest, these days, no matter where I live, I will be extra cautious because you just never know. But I certainly wouldn't worry too much about KL, just be a little cautious.

It saddens me you have that impression of Malaysia. Maybe that it is the No. 1 retirement destination will put it into perspective. However KL is not a great city to live in because of the traffic and pollution. But the climate does mean that kids can enjoy swimming every day. Choose a condo wisely because it will be the main area where they will spend their time. Kids don't walk on streets here. Pity you are not moving to Penang because that really is a different life experience not to be missed.

Try googling - The expat group KL - to put things in perspective. They (TEG) did a survey of impressions about crime in KL which makes interesting reading. … -malaysia/  Their magazines are very useful reading.

Being perceived as wealthy and showing possessions off is a red flag in some areas of KL. Keeping a low profile is advisable. Far worse from a woman's perspective is the internet impression that all Western women are sluts and easy.

The biggest issue in KL is the con men but they're easy to spot and get rid off.
As far as general safety goes, avoid dark alleys and whatever you'd avoid in any other city anywhere in the world.

My experience has been that KL is magnet for snatch thieves, almost every woman I know personally has been snatched at least once. Although once you're a victim you learn to not carry a purse or bag in your hand (what my wife did after becoming relaxed living the US) and to use a strap that goes across your body. I had my tablet stolen while READING it while sitting outside. Don't use your phone or tablet as a general rule when walking or even seated outside a food stall. I've never heard of any issues with children, but like everywhere be careful. I don't consider it any worse than major cities in either the US or UK with the exception of snatch thieves on motorcycles, which is how I lost my tablet and my wife lost her handbag. Also don't place your handbag on the seat next to you while driving, keep it on the floor. Thieves have been known to smash  the passenger window and grab the bag if it's on the seat. Again this is someone on a motorcycle that pulls up next to your car.

But I love living here, and feel safe. However both my wife and I learned the hard way not to be careless regarding carrying bags and using expensive electronics in public.

We all seem to be talking about only the negative things about KL, but as long as you are careful and use common sense then I think it's as safe or unsafe as any other city. The positive side is amazing food everywhere, brilliant shopping and living in a very vibrant and modern city with lots of expats to hang out with.

I lived in KL for more than ten years and the only problems I ever had was with the occasional taxi driver but that ended once I bought a car. My wife and kids never had any problems because we were always careful, and reading about the occasional incident in the news just reminded us to be alert at all times.

Hello, ive lived in Melbourne for a while, a city thats touted to be the most livable in the world. Dark alleys there are no different from the dark alleys here. Apart from that, just be aware of your surroundings as we do have a problem with snatch thieves.

The consensus seems to be one of being aware of your surroundings.
As a long term traveler I would agree with this.
Never let your guard down. Do a little research about the country you intend to travel in with regards to the do's and dont's, what's socially acceptable and what's not.

As for KL, had a lady friend who was the victim of an attempted bag snatch by 2 thugs on a motorbike. Lucky for her the bag had a sturdy strap and so the snatch attempt failed.

She was in an an area where she had never been before, late at night, without her husband. As a long term resident she agreed that she had broken her rule of carrying a large bag, and not knowing exactly where she was.

Snatch thieves are quite common but you don't need to walk around on full alert, just don't carry an easy to snatch bag.
Last I heard, but that was a while ago, the thieves preferred transport was motorbikes, so walk building side of the pavement rather than road side.

Anyone that tells you their daughter is going to university in whatever country you tell them you're from is a scammer. I saw a young Japanese tourist get hammered for a lot of cash by one of them. Whilst their scams are non violent and work on confusing the victims, they are dangerous to your bank account.

Gentlemen, don't go with any of the men in Bukit Bintang who offer you a 'young lady'. Apart from the AIDS risk and possible arrest if the cops raid the brothel you're in, it leaves you very vulnerable to theft.
There are several sites in Malaysia that claim to sell rohypnol so don't leave your drink alone if you go for 'a dance'.

The last is in bars. Always keep your stuff with you or its changes of going missing are very high but that also applies in any English city.

In general, KL is a very safe.

Snatch thieves sometimes attack when you are in your car in a traffic jam or at a traffic light. They smash the front passenger window and grab your bag if they have noticed it on the front passenger seat. So keep any bags out of site. But this is just common sense.

hgg14 ~ Just pretend you're still residing in the real worlds of Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Paris, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mumbai, or Manchester, etc., and you'll be just fine, in KL. :cool:

Just saw this … stay-safe/

Bang on about the taxis - Insist on using the meter.
I saw an American hit one of the monkeys at Batu - big mistake. They got very aggressive and he was lucky to get away without them attacking.
The traffic is a pain but not much of a worry unless you intend to drive.

Yeah and don't forget the taxis with "doctored" meters that jump up a few ringgit every time the driver clicks a button. Actually I'd much rather pay a fixed fee knowing it to be slightly more than normal than the other alternatives, say RM15 from Bukit Bintang to Bangsar. In fact, apart from the tax-free advantage of buying a locally assembled car some years ago, bad taxi drivers was the other main reason that I decided to buy a car.

And going to the airport I will always take an Airport Limo because it's usually cheaper than a standard taxi fare, a bigger more luxurious car, and the service is usually very good.

I used to get to know a few of the regulars, got their numbers and called them when possible.
They tended to be pretty reasonable when you had an informal contract with them.
Also (If you're a man) sit in the front. More personal so less likely to get ripped off and you can see if they're pressing naughty buttons (and they know it).
Another thing is to carry and use sat nav on your phone, making sure the driver knows you have it so he can't take you the tourist route.
That or, once you've got to know your usual routes, make sure the driver knows you know the best way.
A bit of brain power mixed with a smile and a hard business mind soon sorts out the drivers but, if you can't get what you want, close the door and forget that taxi.

Malaysia generally is very safe, KL is after all a large city and there is some crime. However you will find that it's much safer than some cities in the UK, USA or Australia.
We moved from London to Shah Alam, Selangor and are absolutely thrilled. We seldom hear of any serious or violent crime, which sadly is not the case for London or most UK cities. There are several towns within commuting distance of KL if you want to live in a quieter, less polluted environment

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