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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tanzania - Security

We have often been asked about personal security in Egypt.  Cairo has historically been a city almost totally without street crime.  (See, for example, here or here.)  Sadly that may be changing now.

So, we were a little surprised when our initial orientation guide to the country included this warning:
Walking: Always walk with at least one other person and do not walk after dark. When in doubt, ask our group leader or Tanzanian host about the safety of an area and whether it is advisable to walk in an area.
But, in Tanzania, there are a lot of signs that you need to exercise more care than in Egypt.  There are signs posted at most tourist locales indicating protection via private security firms.
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There are security bars over door and windows anywhere there might be something of value.  Churches, schools, butcher shops, homes etc.
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Some cities may be safer than others.  I saw three guards with AK-47s in front of a bank in Arusha.  Laid-back Bukoba only had a single guard on duty at their bank and he was busy checking his mobile phone.

One of our drivers described the purse and camera snatching at a particularly notorious intersection where extra police have now been posted.  And in Moshi, there was this armed guard posted at the last shopping mall that we visited.

Much of this will, no doubt, just remind many people of a typical large American city like Chicago, Philadelphia or Detroit - well, no, Detroit is much worse.  But that is an upcoming story.

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