Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Many. The situation here seems to be deteriorating. There have been a few targeted violent assaults and muggings of expats and diplomats. We simply do not walk anywhere, always drive in dip plates, only go to places that are known to be safe (hotel restaurants and restaurants in certain neighborhoods with security). Christmas is awful, the police constantly try to pull you over to get money for school fees. In my opinion, no one can be trusted. - Jan 2024

Local crime of opportunity-purse snatching, phones stolen from cars. We are aware of our surroundings in the same way we would be in any big city and don't feel any particular danger beyond that. - Jun 2022

Yes. Snatching phones and bags is normal. Group robbery with lots of tools (Machete, claw bars, etc) at night using sleeping gas. Car parts theft. Lots of petty scams. As long as you are aware of your surroundings and lock your doors, have extra measures do not give a copy of keys to your house, you should be ok. Many house robberies are done by someone who once worked at the house or your own employees. If you have a security alarm, use it. - Dec 2021

Use the locks and alarm system at your house. Lock your doors while driving. Very very few security issues here. Boda bodas (motorbike taxis) sometimes go riding past people and try to snatch their bags or their cell phones if it's being held. Be aware of that and you'll likely never have an issue. - Aug 2020

Yes. I've heard snatch and grabs are very common. Traffic accidents seem to abound and I've heard there have been attempted home invasions and robberies. - Nov 2019

Poor street lighting at nights, so evening travel was a little challenging. Crime in general, was an issue, I saw thieves reach into lowered windows and steal phones, so common sense and a general awareness of your surroundings is a good idea, especially in crowded places at night. Terrorists bombed a cafe during the 2010 World Cup, so its a good idea to keep your guard up. That said, I didn't have a bunker mentality - you understand the risks - mitigate them as best you can, and you go about your business. - Oct 2019

Grab and runs, maybe for bags and jewelry. It is a mostly safe city, especially compared to some of our sister cities in East Africa. Like any big city, it's good to lock doors, not put your bag on the passenger seat, be aware of your surroundings. - Mar 2019

Yes. Crime is an increasing concern, and I've heard the number of Embassy personnel and local staff who have suffered burglaries or home invasions has risen sharply. To date the crimes have thankfully been non-violent, but just because that is the case now does not mean it will continue to be so. - Feb 2019

Sure, like everywhere, but mostly the hazard is burglary or petty crime. It's a pretty safe city, overall, if one has typical common sense for city-life. - Jan 2019

Kampala is rated critical for crime. - Dec 2018

Yes, although we haven’t had any issues personally, it’s something to always be mindful of. Bag snatches seem to be common. - Dec 2018

Yes, security is a concern, however, I have never really felt unsafe since we have been here. All of the compounds have 6 foot walls and are surrounded in barbed wire. The houses have bars on every window and the doors are reinforced with steel. Each house has 24-hour guard service and a roving patrol that makes rounds to the residences. All of that being said, we go out like we would in the US, to grocery stores, to restaurants, to friends houses, to parties etc. The security risk does not affect our every day lives, we take precautions as we would in any big city. - Oct 2018

Absolutely!!! People have had things stolen from their homes and cars (I've heard sometimes by staff or guards). - Sep 2018

Oh, yes, car thefts and break-ins are common. I have not found our guard service to be satisfactory. I've heard of phones being stolen out of your hand. - Sep 2018

Uganda is fairly safe, much more so than South Africa. We have never encountered a problem in all our travels around the whole country. That said, there are reports of car and home break-ins here, so you have to keep valuables secure. - Aug 2018

While there's some small crime, it's generally fairly safe in Kampala; you just have to be aware and vigilant, but that's in any large/capital city these days. - Jun 2018

Yes. I do not wear any jewerly or anything else expensive. I have a purse that zips shut. I don't walk with my cell phone out and try to stay aware of my surroundings at all times. Generally Ugandans are kind and welcoming but it is a very poor country in which most subsist on $2 a day. What we have can be very tempting if we are lax about it. - Jun 2018

Petty theft. Lock your doors at all times and keep your windows up. Al Shabaab is a threat, so we go to the malls/grocery stores in the morning and usually stay away on the weekends. However, we are likely being over-cautious about the latter. - Aug 2015

Yes. Read the report on Uganda at travel.state.gov. The terrorist threat here is very real. Crime is also an issue though not nearly as bad as other places we've lived. - Jun 2014

If you follow the RSO's guidelines you should be fine. Lock your car doors when traveling, keep your phone out of sight, etc. - Oct 2013

This is a high-threat post for crime and terrorism. That said, most of the crimes I hear about are crimes of opportunity. Lock your doors, drive with your windows up, use your security system at your house. Most homes and businesses have guards. It took a while to get used to seeing armed guards at the grocery stores, but again, you get used to it. I feel safe here but always keep my sense of awareness and try not to do anything stupid. - Mar 2013

Much, much safer than its neighbor, Kenya. There is petty crime - things will get stolen if you leave them out, and some theft from homes by staff/guards, but I never heard of really violent crime or felt unsafe here. Home guards are all armed, so when I first arrived and saw truckloads drive through town dropping them off, I thought it was a coup in action! - Sep 2009

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