Bustling Jakarta has earned a bad rap in recent years, with stories of pickpockets, assaults, and scams targeting tourists. It’s even been claimed as one of the world’s most dangerous cities. So it’s natural that the question – is Jakarta safe? – pops up when thinking of visiting this huge coastal city. Especially when some governments recommend that tourists should avoid Indonesia‘s capital completely.
However the reality is that considering the size and density of Jakarta – which holds around ten million people – this city is much safer than many think.
Crime – especially petty crime – does exist here though. As such, tourists should be vigilant, and exercise caution. Below we outline more about crime in Jakarta, tips to stay safe and scams to avoid.
But what about violent crime? Is Jakarta safe for female travelers, or LGBTQ tourists? What about safety at night? What reputable and safe taxi companies should you use? We cover all here, in our rundown of what you need to know when visiting Jakarta:
How safe is Jakarta: Crime
Violent crime isn’t common in Jakarta, however it does exist. Assault and home robberies tend to take place at dusk and dawn. While most robbers don’t intend to harm victims physically, some have been known to use weapons.
Therefore keep windows locked – not open – at night, and ensure doors and residences are secure. If the hotel, airbnb, or apartment you are staying in has security cameras, or security personnel, that’s even better.
Crime tends to pick up a little before and during the holy month of Ramadan due to extra cash pressure on families around this time. Therefore it’s worth keeping this in mind if traveling to Jakarta and Indonesia during this month.
Pickpockets and petty crime in Jakarta
However the main issue for tourists and travelers to Jakarta is petty theft. In particular snatch and grabs are becoming more common.
Whilst some of these robberies take place on foot, the vast majority of thieves use motorbikes and scooters to quickly grab bags, wallets, phones and similar items from unsuspecting tourists. Muggers will even attempt to grab items from individuals also riding motorbikes.
Some tourists have also reported bags being stolen whilst in busy areas, such as malls and restaurants.
Therefore be vigilant and take precautions. Keep bags secured. However be very careful with bag straps – an injury can occur if a thief grabs a bag and the victim is dragged along with it. Furthermore, don’t flash money, or wear expensive jewelry, and take extra care using your phone or camera in public.
There’s also been several reports of taxi drivers being involved in thefts. Rather than carry out the robbery themselves, they work with criminal gangs by taking victims to a remote area of the city where a team of muggers are waiting. These criminal gangs will then demand money and personal items, or even an ATM pin-code and card, and are sometimes armed. Female solo passengers tend to be the victims – see more on our section below on ‘How safe is Jakarta for female travelers’.
To avoid falling victim to such a theft, it is important to only take a licensed regulated taxi. The best thing to do is get your hotel, or a trusted friend, to recommend a licensed taxi, and use them. It may cost a little more than hailing a cab on the street, but will be immeasurably safer.
Taxis companies with a good reputation include Bluebird, Silverbird or Express. But be aware that some taxi drivers have impersonated these reputable companies. Therefore it’s still best to ask your hotel to phone a taxi for you.
Is Jakarta safe at night?
Some popular nightlife areas of Jakarta, like Block M, the Ancol Port and Glodok tend to report higher crime rates per year than other areas of the city. So extra care should be taken there.
Violent crime and house robberies usually take place at dusk and dawn, and so walking alone at night is to be avoided. Female travelers in particular, must be wary, as sexual assault is a risk in Jakarta – as outlined in the next section.
It’s best to avoid walking alone in badly-lit areas of the capital at night. If you can avoid walking at night completely, that is even better.
Take a recommended taxi to and from your destination in the evenings. If the driver does not wish to drive though a particular neighborhood then it’s best to listen. Criminal gangs have been known to stop cars and rob the occupants.
How safe is Jakarta for female travelers?
Robbery is an issue in Jakarta, and women are targets to criminal gangs.
Whilst the majority of visits to Jakarta will go well, unfortunately sexual assault remains a risk for female travelers.
Solo women should avoid walking alone at night and be wary of accepting drinks from strangers – drink spiking is an occurrence.
There have been reports in recent years of women being assaulted in taxis, with drivers appearing to target women that have been drinking. Therefore always take a licensed and official taxi that has been recommended to you by a friend, or hotel. Do not take one from the street at night.
There have also been several reports of men on motorbikes and mopeds groping women as they pass by. Some women have also reported men exposing themselves on the street.
Catcalling is common towards foreign women. Dressing conservatively may help reduce that.
Is Jakarta safe for LGBTQ travelers?
Being LGBTQ is legal in Jakarta, and most of Indonesia. However homosexuality is regarded nation-wide as a taboo subject, and LGBTQ individuals face discrimination for their orientation.
Attacks have happened on LGBTQ people in the past. Therefore it’s advised to be discreet as Indonesia remains very conservative in comparison to many Western nations.
Terrorism in Jakarta
A high threat of terrorism exists in Jakarta, with several attacks taking place in the last two decades.
Pro-ISIS groups currently operate in Indonesia, and since 2019, police have arrested hundreds of terrorist suspects throughout the country.
Cities in the wider region have also experienced attacks at busy public spaces, such as malls, so new terrorist activity can’t be completely ruled out.
Is water safe to drink in Jakarta?
It is best to not drink the water straight from the tap in Jakarta, as you will almost certainly end up with stomach issues. Either boil the water before drinking, or buy bottled water.
How safe is Jakarta to visit?
Many people have spent time in Jakarta and loved it! Some have visited and never wanted to come back. It is, in many ways, a marmite city!
Jakarta does have problems with crime , however the vast majority of visits will go smoothly. However, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim significantly by being vigilant and sticking to the tips outlined above.