Botswana 2019 Crime & Safety Report

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report's publication assesses Botswana at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Gaborone does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens' Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

Review OSAC's Botswana-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Crime Threats

There is considerable risk from crime in Gaborone. Criminal incidents, particularly crimes of opportunity (e.g. purse snatchings, smash-and-grabs from parked cars and in traffic, residential burglaries), can occur regardless of location. Theft of mobile phones, laptop computers, and other mobile devices are common.

Criminals can be confrontational. Criminals often armed themselves with knives or blunt objects (e.g. tools, shovels, bats). Botswana has strict gun-control laws; however, criminals reportedly smuggle firearms from neighboring countries where weapons are inexpensive and readily available. A public awareness campaign highlights this issue and requests reporting of illegal firearms to the police.

Reporting indicates incidents of both non-violent residential burglaries and violent home invasions. Incidents affect the local population, expatriates, and visitors alike. Robberies and burglaries tend to spike during the holiday seasons. Those living in Botswana, especially in major cities, should upgrade security at their residences to reduce vulnerability to home invasion. Intrusion alarms, electric fences, perimeter lighting, telephone/camera intercom systems, and window/door grilles are key components of a comprehensive, robust residential security program.

Cybersecurity Issues

Use caution when logging onto public Wi-Fi. Avoid conducting personal or financial matters online using public servers. For more information, review OSAC's report, Cybersecurity Basics.

Other Areas of Concern

Exercise caution near the Gaborone Dam and Kgale Hill areas during times when there are few hikers. Avoid Kgale Hill before sunrise and after sunset, peak times for criminal activity.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)