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Riyadh



Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

It's a high-threat terrorism threat post in a volatile region of the world, so one always has to be aware of one's surroundings. We were forbidden from taking taxis for security reasons, which can make getting around difficult unless you have a car or use the motor pool. There is no public transportation system, but I'm sure even if there was, we wouldn't be able to use that, either, for reasons of security. That said, I never felt unsafe or threatened there, even when alone in a park at night. - Oct 13, 2017
Sooooo I would not say that I feel unsafe here day-to-day. Petty crime is low. Break-ins are nonexistent (speaking of life on the Diplomatic Quarter here). There is a flasher at one of the parks. But there are security concerns that come with thwarted Islamic State attacks, the embassy closes occasionally due to a threat, etc. etc. I think the key is to not think about this too much because you'll be in a state of constant anxiety and really, what can you do?

Some feel unsafe on the road with the crazy Saudi drivers but it's not too awful. - Jan 19, 2017


Terrorism is always in the background as a source of preoccupation and concern, although there is an awesome security apparatus in the Embassy and the homes in the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) have good security. Outside the DQ it is best to keep a low profile, especially if you are female. Even though I am a male, I was harassed a couple of times by the Mutawa in (religious police), once for being outdoors during Muslim prayer ad once, incredibly enough, inside an airport jetway 12 feet from the front door of a Lufthansa aircraft for the hideous crime of talking to a female fellow passenger who happened to be a fellow U.S. Embassy diplomat! We ignored him and quickly ducked into the airplane. - May 20, 2016
We have SANG security around our compound 24/7 armed with PDW's and SMG's. At night we sometimes get treated to automatic weapons fire in the distance with colorful tracers arcing up. Outside, it's like being in any big city back home. Just be alert, and keep your head on swivel. - Nov 9, 2015
Terrorists blowing themselves up every week. The bomb factory was just discovered, and some Westerners were shot and killed. The embassy was closed for a few days, and all the time we hear warnings. War at the borders, ISIS has its cells in KSA. Since the beginning of this year, over 1000 people have been arrested for suspicion of terrorist activities. Our kids' school looks like a prison, with guards holding machine guns outside, barbed-wire fences, and tanks. But it is a safe post, according to the State Department, so they just took away the danger pay! - Oct 27, 2015
There is very little to no crime, but there is always the looming threat of terrorism and attacks against Westerners. Keep a low profile when you are outside of the diplomatic quarter. - Oct 15, 2015
Yes, though safer in some ways the DC, the driving is horrible and erratic and there are many accidents. Also we are in an area that has had terrorism in the past so there are guards everywhere and police presence. Most Westerners live in gated secure compounds. - Jan 23, 2015
ISIS attracts a lot of Saudis. We get danger pay for a reason. - Sep 28, 2014
It's a high terrorism threat post in a volatile region of the world, so one always has to be aware of one's surroundings. We are forbidden from taking taxis for security reasons, which can make getting around difficult unless you have a car. The embassy's motor pool is totally inadequate and the subject of many complaints among the community. There is no public transportation system, but I'm sure even if there was, we wouldn't be able to use that either for reasons of security. That said, I have never felt unsafe or threatened here. - Mar 26, 2014
American Embassy personnel are not authorized to use taxis. Even if you were allowed, many of the drivers have no idea where to take you when you tell them your destination. You need to be able to explain where to go. - Dec 4, 2013
There is always a threat of terrorism here but nothing has occurred in a while; just be alert and use your common sense. - Oct 9, 2013
There is a general risk of terrorism, which is easy to ignore once you get used to the heavy security around the Diplomatic Quarter, government buildings, and western housing compounds. - Mar 17, 2013
Yes, embassy families have just returned to post after a 6-year gap. Everyone is very security-minded and should be very aware. - Apr 7, 2011
Yes. There is a stronger security presence in Riyadh than in most other parts of the world. The Diplomatic Quarter, DQ, is guarded and has controlled access. When walking around town in Riyadh, you do not get a sense of insecurity; there seems to be low petty crime overall. Security measures seem to be more in place to avoid serious attacks rather than for individual protections. Crime overall seems very low. - Jul 27, 2010
Yes. Terrorists, religious police, robbery, very dangerous traffic. - Mar 29, 2010
Yes, always. - Jan 18, 2010
Oh, God, yes! Especially as a USG employee. There are constant security concerns. - Dec 29, 2009
Obvious terrorist issues, considering that this country is where it all started. Lots of terrorist sympathizers here. - Oct 21, 2008
No petty crime, some harassment but much less than in most cities (not overt), obvious threat of terrorism. - Aug 6, 2008