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Migrants caputured by the Coast Guard

Cape Verde Crime

Cape Verde attacks on tourists and expatriates

There is a considerable amount of petty crime, especially in Praia, but it is increasing also in Santa Maria. Not all of it is undertaken by Senegalese and Nigerians as locals claim. Cape Verdeans are involved too. Crime amounts chiefly to pick-pocketing, sneaking up on the beach and snatching handbags, cameras or wallets and breaking into hotel rooms or flats during the night. For this reason most hotels in Santiago and Boa Vista maintain a staff of guards armed with baseball bats.

If you wander around the Plato district of central Praia for long enough, you are bound to be mugged. One strongly built Frenchman lost his moneybelt to a beggar armed with a smashed bottle who tricked him into leaning forward.

Baggage is probably at more risk in Gatwick (just like Thiefrow) than at Sal. J from Wales lost cameras and we had a package which appeared to have been run over by the baggage tractor. Our guess is that both occurred at Gatwick.

"The only downside to the trip was I had all my cameras, camcorder,sun glasses and prescription glasses stolen from my bag after I checked it in on the way back, they cut the lock off and helped themselves! I will be going again,soon, when I know I will let you do all the arrangements; there will be 2 of us this time "

There have also been incidents in Santa Maria. Most seriously two Italian girls were brutally killed with rocks by three locals, one reportedly a tour guide and jilted boyfriend. An Italian business woman was knifed on leaving a bank in Santa Maria, by a former employee who ran off with cash. J from Tenerife was attacked after dark between the Hotels Belorizonte and Morabeza whilst walking back to her hotel alone, by two youths who threw her to the ground and ran off with her handbag.

Our advice is do not walk alone after dark - take taxis to and from hotels - and pay the irritating €4 daily charge that many hotels levy for the use of their safes to store valuables. It is best not to engage in conversation with the many touts that now pester tourists around the banks. Many insurance policies exclude payment for robbery whilst on holiday so please check. Loss of your passport will mean contacting your local embassy for a laisser-passer, which in the case of the British can take days to arrive. For losses in Sal, the French consular service located in the Hotel Morabeza is easily the most helpful. The French consul is able to help other European citizens that do not have an embassy in Cape Verdes, such as the Irish. The British Consul is in Mindelo but often seems to be away in Lisbon, when needed.

Here is the US State Department view.
"Petty thievery and burglary are common in Cape Verde, especially in crowds, such as market places, festivals, and celebrations. Criminals do not necessarily target Americans, but rather affluent foreigners. Local police statistics reflect an increase in crime in Cape Verde, particularly in the cities of Praia and Mindelo. Often the perpetrators of these crimes are gangs of street children, so visitors should avoid groups of children who appear to have no adult supervision."

Muggings occur more often than previously, particularly at night and in more isolated areas, and occasionally violence is associated with them. Crime associated with drugs and drug-use is also on the rise. Due to lack of lighting in many public areas and periodic blackouts, people are encouraged to carry small flashlights, travel with others, keep vehicle doors and windows locked, avoid dark and isolated places, and be especially vigilant in the evenings.

Here is the US State Department view
"Violent crime is also increasing in Cape Verde. There have been several murders and attempted murders in the past year, mostly reported in the urban centers of Praia and Mindelo, although Sal and other islands have not been immune. Murders and violent assaults have not targeted American citizens specifically."

K from Exeter asks

"I am surprised by the muggings in Cape Verde. Except inl Praia I have found it a safe place to visit. "

P from Lisbon says

"Apparently, there have been reports of mugging in Praia and Palmarejo, a suburb of Praia!"