When it comes to safety in Jakarta, the city has always had a mixed image from the world. It has had instances where tourists were treated in a very inhumane manner, but there are also happy stories at the other end. But not every town has perfect safety and has its fair share of ups and downs. So it is recommended that you keep a few things in mind before travelling to this beautiful conglomeration of islands. Overall, it is safer than a lot of Asian cities, but you can never be careful enough.
How Safe is Jakarta?
Jakarta is quite a big city, with a lot of districts coming together to form a high density of cultural values and traditions. So in that sense, the city is safe, but since the town became a huge tourist attraction almost ten years ago, the scammers and pick-pockets have been rampant on the streets to get an extra payday.
There are certain specified areas where you should always be careful, areas like the Ancol Port Area, which has one of the highest crime rates. You also need to keep an eye on your valuables, especially during the nights. As long as you do that, the chances of your trip getting ruined are quite less.
1.Police/General Emergencies: 110 or 112(From Satellite and Mobile Phones)
2.Ambulance and Medical Emergencies: 118 or 119
4.Search and Rescue (BASARNAS): 115
5.Natural Disaster Assistance: 129
6.Bureau of Public Communication of the Ministry of Tourism: +62 21 3838899
Tips for Safety in Jakarta
1. Pickpockets: Although not a significant risk, but this act comes along with a city which is also a tourist attraction. Since foreigners are an easy target for mugging, there are some instances when their belongings are stolen, with violence used often.
2. Transport Risks: There are a lot of options for transport in Jakarta, including taxis and buses. Beware of the taxis which do not use meters for they might cheat you of a fair price, by overcharging. You may not know the running cost of a km, being a tourist. So always keep the current rates in mind or ask a local regarding them. When it comes to buses, the prices won’t increase, but because of this common factor of safety in Jakarta, there is a high danger of pickpockets in buses, so keep an eye out.
3. Terrorism: This is always a world-wide threat, but in the recent times, Indonesia, in particular, has received a lot of threats from the terrorist organisation regarding attacks, so being a tourist from a foreign nation, it becomes even more critical for you to beware of your surroundings and any potential threats.
4. Natural Disasters: When it comes to natural disasters, Jakarta is no stranger, with nature pouring havoc on the city many a time. Threats include landslides during the monsoon season, water-borne diseases, earthquakes, which have caused mass destruction even in the past, tsunamis, which have still not faded from many memories. Volcanic eruptions are quite frequent and have disturbed life in Jakarta a lot. All these are significant threats to Jakarta, so when you do travel, keep in mind these things as well as the season in which you visit, to minimise the chances of disaster
5. Mugging: Though there are fewer chances that you would get mugged at gunpoint here, you shouldn’t take our word for that. For your safety in Jakarta, always be prepared for any physical attempt at the theft of your belongings, since foreigners are still an easy target. And don’t forget to avoid dark alleys during night time.
6. Scams: This is the biggest threat any tourist faces when they visit a new country. They do not know how things work, and the locals tend to take advantage of that fact. Various scams inclusive but not limited to sorts of credit card skimming, drinks spiking, credential theft happen a lot in Jakarta. So do not trust anyone too quickly, for your benefit.
7. Crossing roads: Streets are packed with vehicles and motorcycles, in particular, can pose hazards to pedestrians. Always cross the streets on the pedestrian lanes. However, there are also areas where such markings are conspicuously absent so when you need to cross the street, do it with caution, pass with predictable pace — do not step backwards, and get the driver’s attention by raising your palm in his direction as you cross the street.
8. Food: Tap water is not safe for drinking in Jakarta, so it is advisable to have bottled water handy, for your safety, especially when dealing with the city’s hot and humid conditions. It is also advised to stay away from street food initially, particularly if you are not used to them or if they’re located in less clean places and exposed to dust, insects and other elements that spoil food quality. Mind you that Indonesian street food is delicious, so this is not necessarily forbidding you from trying them; for the food safety in Jakarta, pay close attention to the hygiene of such places before eating there.
9. Local currency: Indonesia uses rupiah as a standard trading currency, so tourists often ask whether it’s better to take money from ATM counters or exchange them at money changing companies. Generally, withdrawing cash from the ATM at the airport is the best option, followed by exchanging your foreign currency to Indonesian rupiah at authorised money changing agents located at the arrival area. It is highly advised to not deal with unauthorised agents as they might offer favourable rates but include fake bills and make you vulnerable to pickpockets or robbers who can see you counting your money.
10. Your identification: It is not necessary to carry around your passport everywhere you go, but for the sake of security, it is recommended to carry around a copy of your front passport page to prove your identity to local authorities. As a backup, take pictures of your passport.
11. Religious Tolerance: Opposite to pre-conceived notions, the city of Jakarta, just like the rest of Indonesia, is quite tolerant of every religion, and there will be no discrimination observed on those grounds.
12. Women's Safety in Jakarta: The country of Indonesia is quite safe for women if you stay in the right places. Though women still struggle for equal rights in the country, being a popular tourist destination, Jakarta is relatively lenient when it comes to equality. Late nights in the city are safe, only if you stay out of places of danger and do not commit any crimes. So stay out of trouble, and life will be easy.
Places to be Cautious in Jakarta
1. Ciliwung: This is Jakarta’s biggest slum and hence, has a lot of social instability. This fact results in a high crime risk than the rest of the city. Visiting this place has to be avoided both during the day and night.
2. The Ancol Port Area: This place has the highest crime rates in the entire city and is also a base for many of the frauds and scandals that run rampant. Significant crimes include prostitution, which is illegal in Indonesia. Other unlawful activities also occur, which make it a dangerous place to be. So try and refrain from visiting.
3. Old Town: This part of the city has a lot of exciting places to visit, including Museum of Fine Art, Puppet Museum, and The Jakarta History Museum and is hence a popular tourist attraction. The area is relatively safe; however, there are many instances of pickpocketing and scams. So for your safety in Jakarta, keep your belongings nice and hidden when visiting Old Town for a better experience.
4. Block M, South Jakarta: Several nightclubs and bars are present here, and a lot of times rackets of prostitution, drugs, trafficking and other criminal activities take place. Vigilance is very high in this area, so if you do want to go, do take someone with you and keep your belongings close and watch out for thieves.
If you look at the safety in Jakarta from an overall perspective, it is quite a safe place to be at, only if you keep a few things in mind, taking care of yourself and being aware of your surroundings and your belongings. If you follow the points mentioned above in mind while on your next trip to Jakarta, we can assure your vacation won’t go south and you will have the time of your life!