Solomon Islands 2019 Crime & Safety Report

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

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizen Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or establishment, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of services provided.

Review OSAC's Solomon Islands-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 Honiara. Pickpocketing and petty thefts are the most common crimes committed. Crimes of opportunity, pickpocketing, and petty theft do not specifically target a particular group, nor involve weapons. Exercising situational awareness and utilizing all security mechanisms available to you will mitigate this significantly.

Petty theft in Honiara is more prevalent near the various WWII Memorials that dot the landscape. Using guided or group tours when visiting these sites is a safer way to visit. Avoid traveling alone to these sites.

The risk of sexual assaults against both children & adults is a serious problem in Honiara. All visitors should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings when conducting business within the city.

Due to perceived largess, criminals target expatriates for house and vehicle break-ins. These crimes typically increase in the months approaching the Christmas holiday season. Ensuring that no valuables (especially phones and other electronics) are visible, and parking in secure locations will significantly lower the threat of vehicular break-ins. If living permanently in the Solomon Islands, using alarms, gates, locks, walls, and other security measures at your residence will significantly lower the risk of home break-ins.

Gang-based criminal activity has increased in and around the Burns Creek area in East Honiara, including in the nearby Ranandi industrial center. If traveling to those areas, exercise situational awareness and do not travel alone if possible.

There are reports of criminals robbing expatriates at knifepoint on several beaches in and around Honiara. These robberies often occur at night and/or after large sporting events. Heavy drinking may play a role in these more brazen attacks. Exercise caution when using beaches at these times.

Cybersecurity Issues

Solomon Islands has made advances in its cybersecurity roadmap. The country participated in the inaugural Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON) event in April 2018 funded by the Australian government to enhance cyber resilience in the region. Australia has also agreed to fund an underwater cable for internet connectivity to the Solomon Islands, as well as a Cyber Security center, although these arrangements have yet to undergo implementation. Exercise normal security precautions when using public computers.

Other Areas of Concern

A bulk carrier vessel ran aground in Kangava Bay near Rennell Island in February 2019 and leaked heavy fuel oil. Salvage and environmental recovery continues.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II still exists on land and sea around the country. The Australian government conducts regular explosive ordnance disposal throughout the country, but UXO remains a concern. Exercise caution when walking or hiking unmarked roads or conducting activities at sea.

Boats anchored offshore have fallen prey to robberies. Criminals will use the cover of darkness to board the vessels and then rob them. Make sure to lock and secure boats before settling in for the night.

There are reports of criminals using boats to circumvent land-based security measures and gain entry into an area by sea. Verify that coastal venues have accounted for sea-borne threats in their security postures.

The waters off the Solomon Islands are some of the most remote in the world. Due to a lack of resources and interagency coordination, the capacity for waterborne rescues is extremely limited. Local businesses such as marinas play a large role in monitoring clients boating in their area. Use of marine radios, satellite phones, life vests, global positioning systems, flares/electronic signaling tools, and regular radio status updates are necessary while boating in Solomon Islands. Furthermore, for longer voyages, create a sailing itinerary and share it with local marine recovery assets, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard (or equivalent).

Solomon Islands customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning import/export of items such as firearms, ammunition, and sexually explicit material. The Solomon Islands Government prohibits the export of military artifacts from World War II. Contact the Solomon Islands Mission to the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)