Suriname 2019 Crime & Safety Report

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

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo 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 Suriname-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 Paramaribo. Government statistics indicate a modest increase in personal and property crime in 2018, following an overall reduction in 2017 and elevated rates in 2016. Street crimes, including theft of backpacks, purses, jewelry (particularly necklaces), and cell phones are regular occurrences. Reports indicate criminals often use weapons against victims in the commission of street crimes, particularly when victims resist. Perpetrators often escape by moped or motorbike, and evade police capture. Armed robbers targeted several expatriates walking in close proximity to popular hotels and near Combe Market.

No areas of Paramaribo are completely safe. Criminals move without restriction into and out of neighborhoods where expatriates live, often using scooters or motorcycles to evade police. In one reported case in 2018, a burglar tied up a guard in an affluent neighborhood, while in another instance two burglars violently assaulted and robbed a guard attempting to deny gate access.

Robberies are concerns in Albina and Moengo cities, Brokopondo District, along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo and Albina, and along the Afobakka Highway in Para District.

Criminals often carry firearms or other weapons, and will use them, especially if victims resist. Handgun permits are very difficult to obtain, but many criminals have handguns anyway. Shotguns, the only firearms normally owned by civilians, are also frequently used in the commission of crimes. Although illegal, hunters use gun traps in the interior.

Multiple private security companies operate in Paramaribo. Several specialize in providing middle and upper class neighborhoods sharing service costs with uniformed mobile patrols using guards with marked vehicles or bicycles. Static security guard posts are much less pervasive than neighborhood patrols, with only the highest-income residences employing 24/7 fixed-position guard services. Cost remains the primary determinant of residential security guard service.

Avoid using debit and credit cards because of identity theft concerns. Keep your card in your sight at all times. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling. Exchange currency at banks, hotels, and official exchange houses (cambios); doing so outside of these locations is illegal and can be dangerous.

Organized crime does exist in Paramaribo, but on a smaller scale than other cities in the region.

Other Areas of Concern

Avoid walking in downtown Paramaribo and the Palmentuin (Palm Garden) after dark; criminals often target foreigners in these areas.

Travel to the interior of the country requires caution. Anyone venturing into the interior should have a seasoned guide and some form of communication. Services offered through major hotels and tourist agencies are usually safer and more reliable. There have been reports of robberies of tourists and foreigners in the countryside, and occasional reports of bandits on rural roads. Criminals attacked and robbed a group of Dutch tourists in April 2018 on the road to Langatabiki, in Sipaliwini district. An incident targeting employees of a gold company in Para district in June 2018 ended with a young woman dying from gunshot wounds.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)