Personal Safety and Security in the Maldives

The Maldives is a peaceful nation with a low risk of any crime for any visitors to these beautiful islands. In general, the most common type of crimes affecting foreigners in the Maldives is petty theft of items left unattended on beaches or in hotel rooms but incidences are still quite rare. 

So, we would advise that you (as you would anywhere) keep an eye on your personal belongings and make sure you lock your villa whenever you go out. If you’re going to the beach, maybe leave your valuables behind, or bring them with you but put them inside a waterproof wallet so you can take them into the water with you. There’s no need to be overly cautious, as the Maldives is amongst the safest tropical vacation destinations you can visit (and definitely safer than many Caribbean islands). 

If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s always a good idea (as with any country) to put your valuables in the safe rather than lying around, just as a precaution. But there’s probably no need to lock things up if you’re staying inside a Maldives holiday home, because the incidence of burglaries is very low and home invasions are practically unheard of. Just lock your doors and close your windows as normal when you go out. If you specifically require a safe to be installed in your Maldives vacation home, or any other security measures, you can discuss your requirements with our designers, who will make the necessary arrangements. 

You are at very low risk of experiencing any form of violent crime in the Maldives, even in the capital city. In general, the Maldivians are very peaceful people, after all, they’ve had to find ways over the course of their history (since 300 B.C.) to resolve conflicts whilst living together on small islands. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Currents in the Maldives are probably the biggest risk to your personal safety that you could encounter in the Maldives. Always take care when you’re swimming because the Maldives has some of the strongest currents in the world and it can be very deceptive because the turquoise water looks so beautiful. That’s why it’s always a good idea to only swim within the shelter of the lagoons, where the currents are mildest or non-existent. The lagoons are encircled by a ‘faru’ (reef wall). 

Please don’t ever try to swim to other islands, even if they appear close, as the currents can be strongest in these spots between islands, and often the islands are much further away than they appear. (That’s unless the island in question is just a few feet from shore and the locals tell you it’s fine!) It’s always good to seek local advice on such matters. 

Bringing firearms into the Maldives is prohibited and there are zero gun-related deaths annually. The Maldivian police do not even carry guns, except in extreme circumstances. If you follow the local news, you may occasionally hear about gang-related incidents in the capital, Male’, but these incidents do not affect the personal safety of foreigners and normally only involve other youths in specific parts of the city that most tourists never visit.   

Foreign women may receive more attention than they’re used to but they are unlikely to be at risk from anything more sinister than staring. Just take the appropriate precautions as you would anywhere in the world, such as not walking alone on the beach late at night. Call the Tourist Police (contacts below) if you encounter any issues. 

The Maldives has had a somewhat bumpy path to democracy and in 2012 there was a coup d’etat which affected the citizens of Male’ directly. There are also occasionally protests over various issues in the capital city but they don’t tend to spill over into the inhabited islands where our vacation homes are built. Attacks against foreign targets are very rare but your country’s State Department or Foreign Office will have regularly updated information on this. 

The Maldives has established a special unit of Tourist Police which you can call on (+960) 9790070 or email on tourist@police.gov.mv. You can also call the regular Maldives Police Service on 119 for emergencies, (+960) 3322111 for the main switchboard or email them on info@police.gov.mv

It’s also useful to call your country’s embassy or consulate if for any reason you encounter any problems. Not every country has a representative in the Maldives, so often the closest embassy is in Sri Lanka (that’s where the closest US and UK embassies are located). You can contact the US Embassy in Sri Lanka on (+94) 112 498 500 and the British High Commission in Sri Lanka on (+94) 115 390 639.  

Petty Crime Avoidance Tips

If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s always a good idea (as with any country) to put your valuables in the safe rather than lying around, just as a precaution. But there’s probably no need to lock things up if you’re staying inside a Maldives holiday home, because the incidence of burglaries is very low and home invasions are practically unheard of. Just lock your doors and close your windows as normal when you go out. If you specifically require a safe to be installed in your Maldives vacation home, or any other security measures, you can discuss your requirements with our designers, who will make the necessary arrangements. 

Low Violent Crime

You are at very low risk of experiencing any form of violent crime in the Maldives, even in the capital city. In general, the Maldivians are very peaceful people, after all, they’ve had to find ways over the course of their history (since 300 B.C.) to resolve conflicts whilst living together on small islands. 

Currents 

Yes, you read that correctly. Currents in the Maldives are probably the biggest risk to your personal safety that you could encounter in the Maldives. Always take care when you’re swimming because the Maldives has some of the strongest currents in the world and it can be very deceptive because the turquoise water looks so beautiful. That’s why it’s always a good idea to only swim within the shelter of the lagoons, where the currents are mildest or non-existent. The lagoons are encircled by a ‘faru’ (reef wall). 

Please don’t ever try to swim to other islands, even if they appear close, as the currents can be strongest in these spots between islands, and often the islands are much further away than they appear. (That’s unless the island in question is just a few feet from shore and the locals tell you it’s fine!) It’s always good to seek local advice on such matters. 

Firearms

Bringing firearms into the Maldives is prohibited and there are zero gun-related deaths annually. The Maldivian police do not even carry guns, except in extreme circumstances. If you follow the local news, you may occasionally hear about gang-related incidents in the capital, Male’, but these incidents do not affect the personal safety of foreigners and normally only involve other youths in specific parts of the city that most tourists never visit.   

Female Travelers

Foreign women may receive more attention than they’re used to but they are unlikely to be at risk from anything more sinister than staring. Just take the appropriate precautions as you would anywhere in the world, such as not walking alone on the beach late at night. Call the Tourist Police (contacts below) if you encounter any issues. 

Politics

The Maldives has had a somewhat bumpy path to democracy and in 2012 there was a coup d’etat which affected the citizens of Male’ directly. There are also occasionally protests over various issues in the capital city but they don’t tend to spill over into the inhabited islands where our vacation homes are built. Attacks against foreign targets are very rare but your country’s State Department or Foreign Office will have regularly updated information on this. 

Useful Contacts 

The Maldives has established a special unit of Tourist Police which you can call on (+960) 9790070 or email on tourist@police.gov.mv. You can also call the regular Maldives Police Service on 119 for emergencies, (+960) 3322111 for the main switchboard or email them on info@police.gov.mv

It’s also useful to call your country’s embassy or consulate if for any reason you encounter any problems. Not every country has a representative in the Maldives, so often the closest embassy is in Sri Lanka (that’s where the closest US and UK embassies are located). You can contact the US Embassy in Sri Lanka on (+94) 112 498 500 and the British High Commission in Sri Lanka on (+94) 115 390 639.  

Wrapping Up

You’ll probably find that if you have a holiday home in the Maldives you’re extremely unlikely to experience crime and in all likelihood the Maldives probably safer than your actual home base. The regional embassies and consulates take good care of any citizens staying in the region and are on hand to help if you need them. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their respective website for travel advisories but please do always be aware that it’s their responsibility to present ‘worst case scenarios’ to keep all bases covered – if you read foreign travel advisories written about your own countries no doubt you’ll understand this! 

In general, you’ll find the Maldivian people to be very friendly and welcoming, and also very willing to help with anything you may need. Maldivians are very proud of their country and want visitors to share their love for the Maldives too.     

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