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Oman is one of the most stable countries in the Middle East. Expats will be happy to know that the firm legal system and friendly people make for a safe environment to live and work in. There are still safety factors to consider, including road safety and weather-related hazards.
Crime in Oman
Crime rates in Oman are low. Crimes that do occur are largely petty and include opportunistic theft and bag snatching. The possibility of expats being targeted increases if they are negligent with valuables (i.e. leave them unattended in public areas).
The number of reported burglaries in Muscat is low and are made even less likely if basic residential security measures are in place and normal caution is exercised.
Though women may experience some elements of culture shock in Oman, reports of sexual assault are minimal – though expats should still be vigilant of personal safety.
The threat of terrorism in Oman is one of the lowest in the world. Though terrorist attacks may be unlikely, the risk shouldn't be dismissed completely. Risks are higher in areas with Western interests, and large and public places such as hotels, shopping malls and beaches.
Political unrest in Oman
While Oman is one of the safest countries, occasional unannounced protests have been known to flare up to voice disillusionment with issues such as unemployment, low salaries, the introduction of new taxes and the high cost of living. Expats should steer well clear of them and follow the warnings of Omani authorities.
Road safety in Oman
Driving in Oman can be dangerous. Although the road network is well maintained and well lit in major cities and along major highways, the traffic accident rate is high compared to the population. The cause of accidents is mostly poor driving, speeding and disregard for basic traffic laws, including among public transport drivers.
The standards of roads and lighting in secondary towns and roads are poor and drivers considering travelling in these areas should rather do so during the day. Travel at night in rural areas is made more dangerous by wandering livestock.
Expats driving in Oman should note that in light of the high number of accidents, traffic laws are strictly enforced and stiff penalties are in place for speeding, driving through red traffic lights and other offences. Penalties can include mandatory jail sentences and heavy fines.
Weather hazards in Oman
Oman is occasionally affected by tropical storms or cyclones. The storm systems typically dump high amounts of rain on the country, which result in severe flash-flooding. Approaching storms are usually well publicised and expats should heed all advice from authorities. Caution is advised in wadis (dry river beds) and near the coast during tropical storms due to the threat of flooding and coastal storm surges.