Tips on how to settle in an unsafe area...

  • Alexandre Rotenberg/
Published 2020-02-13 12:29

Numbeo has just released its list of the safest and the least safe cities in the world. Abu Dhabi, Doha, Taipei, Quebec city and Charjah in the UAE are the safest cities while Caracas, Port Moresby in New Guinea, Pietermaritzburg, Pretoria and Durban in South Africa are the least safe, Numbeo found.

But should the safety levels of a country stop you from living your expat dream? Realizing your dream expat destination is not as safe as you might have thought doesn’t mean you can’t still have an amazing time. It just means you have to be smarter about it.

Read on for some helpful tips on how to settle in and stay safe after you’ve moved.

Research the crime levels in your area

It certainly doesn’t hurt to do some thorough research on the crime levels in your new country, city, or even neighbourhood. Find out about the safest cities or neighbourhoods, and consider gated communities if this where you would feel the safest.

Once you figure out where the no-go neighbourhoods and times are, you can plan your schedule around that to ensure you stay as safe as possible whenever you’re out. That way, you won’t accidentally stumble upon any unsavoury characters.

Up your home's security

If possible, you should research ways to reinforce your property so you’ll have peace of mind whenever you’re home. All it takes is a Google search to find a reputable security company that can come out, assess your home, and suggest the proper measures to take to reinforce it.

Not only should you up your home’s security, but you should also make sure you always lock and secure all openings, such as your windows and garage (if you have one). 

Always keep your wits about you

If you enjoy clubbing or partying, or even a casual drink late at night at the local bar, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop once you’ve moved to a new country. However, it does mean you have to be more vigilant, especially since you’re not familiar with the area yet.

Try not to leave too late; closing time is usually when the troublemakers linger and cause issues. Also, it’s not a good idea to drink so much that you can barely remember what happened.

To get home, you should hail a cab from a reputable company. If you must walk home, then make sure to only take main roads that are well-lit. If anyone tries to speak with you, don’t engage. Instead, try and find an open establishment so you can get to safety and call a cab from there.

Be wary of the people you meet on dating apps

Once you move to a new country, you may want to dip your toes into the dating pool. But considering you’re not really familiar with everything in the country yet, you’ll want to take things slow.

Always meet your dates in public places and get to know them a bit before going anywhere privately with them. In some countries that are more unsafe, there are predators on dating apps who know how to recognise and take advantage of people who are new and naive. You may want to do some research online about any dating scams there may potentially be in your new country of residence.

Make friends with other expats

This tip will not only help you stave off loneliness in a new city, but it’ll also help you with safety.

When you move to a new country, one of the first things you should do is reach out to other expats. You can meet for a coffee and they can give their own personal opinions on where the safe and shady places are in the city.

Plus, when you meet up with someone, there’s less of a chance that you’ll be targeted for crime, as you’ll have a witness with you. In fact, if you can manage to get in with a group of expats that meet up regularly, you’ll get to socialise while remaining safe, as many of the members may arrange for group transportation.