The situation in Tunisia continues to improve with the recent political developments and continual hard work on the part of security forces. Even with all their success, Tunisia finds itself in a precarious position mainly due to economic challenges & the situation in Libya. Additionally, the recent string of foiled plots highlights both the seriousness of the security challenges and the efficiency of Tunisian security forces.
That aside, petty crime & road safety continues to be the greatest security/safety risks for Expats living in Tunisia.
I want to share some insight into the incident that took place on Friday, Feb. 13 downtown Tunis ( Medina/Kasbah Square Tunis). According to a local report, a Swiss couple was robbed during the evening hours. The attack was carried out by two men using the motorcycle snatch and grab tactic. This would be just another crime incident except that the tourists were badly injured (stabbed) and a recent report showed that tourism is already down by 21 percent.
Expats comment on article on Facebook Page For quick updates check out the Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page
Observations from Incident…
The fact that the incident made the news and reached the level of the Ministry of Interior shows that: 1.) these types of crimes are rare in Tunis & 2.) Tunisian officials are serious about security. Additionally, not one but two ministers personally went to the hospital to visit the Swiss couple; now that’s what I call leading by example.
As expats we have to maintain a healthy level of security awareness in Tunis for 3 reasons:
- When done right; security awareness empowers us to thrive in our host country.
- Petty crime is on the rise.
- The recent foiled plots tells us that the security situation is not as stable as it appears.
Contrary to popular belief, embassies are not able to do much for their citizens when it comes to petty crime. For example here’s the US Embassy response:
“VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates). We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Tunisia is 197, although the service will be in Arabic or French. Emergency services are widely available in the larger towns, but may be less reliable in rural areas.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.”
As you can see, embassies do offer some support but as Expats our personal security is really our own responsibility. Let’s continue to share empowering information.