Location: Botswana, countrywide
Event: The U.S. Embassy in Gaborone would like to remind U.S. citizens of the following security risks and practices throughout the holiday/festive season and beyond. While this information is specific to Gaborone, the same practices and vigilance are worth keeping in mind in other areas of the country as well. Criminal incidents tend to increase during the pre-holiday and holiday season. As in recent years before the holiday season, Embassy Gaborone recently received reports of late night/early morning home break-ins/armed robberies. The Botswana Police Service has increased patrols and presence throughout Botswana and typically conducts an annual operation to curb these incidents and road fatalities.
Actions to Take:
- Be cautious and vigilant as you go about your daily routine. Avoid walking or jogging alone, even in the daytime. Travel with a companion or group if possible. There is safety in numbers. Stay alert when entering or exiting your vehicle or residence.
- Do not drink and drive. Please have a designated driver if you choose to drink. Drive with caution and avoid travel at night if possible, especially near the end of the month.
- Avoid leaving valuables in your car. When unavoidable, move items out of direct sight and minimize risk by parking in highly visible and well-trafficked areas. When possible, use your actual key to lock the door instead of the remote fob. If the key fob is the only option, ensure the door is actually locked before walking away by pulling on each of the handles. Criminals can jam your remote’s signal with electronic devices.
- Keep car windows up and doors locked at all times and be aware of your surroundings, especially at intersections where “smash & grab” incidents are frequent. (These include the Seboni/New Lobatse T-junction at the north end of the Central Business District and the Nelson Mandela stretch between Broadhurst and Lemmenyane.) Be wary of pedestrians approaching your car while you are in traffic. Do not let passengers travel with purses, briefcases, or electronics visible in their laps while in the car.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good operational condition. Always leave space between your car and the car in front of you in case you need to maneuver out.
- Discarded packaging of expensive electronics lets criminals know what to look for in a house. Consider keeping these boxes out of sight before taking them to a recycling center.
- Carry only essential items with you, and avoid perceived displays of wealth (expensive watches, flashy jewelry, etc.).
- If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Remove yourself from the situation and do not confront or investigate further. Call the police as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Keep your mobile phone charged and have emergency numbers pre-programmed.
- Utilize all residential security features including routine use of deadbolt locks, padlocks, motion detectors, door, window, and fence alarms, and activate central alarm monitoring systems. Dogs kept inside can be a good deterrent, or other loud noise emitting devices such as air horns. Make your home a hard target.
U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana
Embassy Drive, Government Enclave, Gaborone
Telephone: +267-395-3982, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Botswana Country Information [click here]