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Messages for U.S. Citizens

Crime and Personal Security

October 17, 2012

Due to a recent cluster of criminal incident reporting, U.S. Embassy Cairo reminds U.S. citizens to remain vigilant in the course of their daily business in Egypt.  Political violence and crime, including theft, robbery, and assault, continue to claim victims within the expatriate community.  The current security environment in Egypt may offer opportunities to groups or individuals that want to target westerners or U.S. interests.  While these risks cannot be completely avoided, there are many personal security measures that U.S. citizens can take to lower their profiles and minimize their exposure to situations and environments that pose a significant threat.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Varying times and routes in your daily schedule;
  • Maintaining awareness of your surroundings;
  • In traffic, maintaining space around your vehicle in which to maneuver, always leaving yourself an exit, and avoiding choke points;
  • Keeping the windows of your car rolled up and doors locked;
  • If followed while driving, blowing your horn repeatedly to attract attention and driving directly to a safehaven (e.g. a police station or hotel). Make a point to know where these potential safehavens are in your neighborhood;
  • If walking, using well-lit, heavily traveled streets.  If you feel threatened, walking into a store, police station, or other public building;
  • Varying the times and locations of your recreational activities so as to avoid establishing an identifiable pattern;
  • Limiting knowledge of your personal activities to those who need to know;
  • Learning uniforms of local police and being able to recognize their credentials;
  • Being on a constant lookout for surveillance activity;
  • Never giving out personal information, such as family member or household staff names, addresses, and telephone numbers in an open setting;
  • Avoiding emblems on clothing and cars that overtly identify you as a U.S. citizen;
  • If involved in an emergency situation and requiring immediate assistance, contacting the local authorities by dialing 122.  When the immediate danger has passed, contacting the U.S. Mission duty phone via 2797-3300 for further assistance.  This phone is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Egypt.  For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website where the Worldwide CautionCountry Specific Information for Egypt, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts, including the current Travel Alert for Egypt, can be found.  You can also follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.  You can also download our free Smart TravelerApp available through iTunes and the Android market to have travel information at your fingertips.   Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy Cairo through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website.  If you enroll we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

For further information, U.S. citizens may call the Embassy’s American Citizens Services Unit at 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.   Please refer to the American Citizens Services Facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/USEmbassyCairo.  For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at 2797-3300.  The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.