Personal Safety and Security During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is once again upon us and the Embassy would like to take this opportunity to remind all U.S. citizens of the need to exercise caution, common sense and to practice heightened personal security during the holidays.  Historically, there is a considerable spike in crime during this time of year in throughout Kenya, including incidents of carjacking, muggings, and home invasions. The Embassy also reminds U.S. citizens that crime is rampant, indiscriminate, at times violent, and happens in all parts of Kenya, at all hours and that there is a continued threat of potential terrorist attacks in the country.  Targets for these attacks could include hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, diplomatic missions, transportation hubs, religious institutions, government offices, or public transportation.

Please take time to review the below information to refresh your personal security practices along with your family. 

Security Recommendations:

  • If you do plan on attending a large holiday celebration consider the security of your intended venue to determine if it has adequate setback, access control & screening, guard & police support and multiple entries or exits.
  • Remember that crowds are very dynamic and that security situations can change quickly in large gatherings, with the potential to escalate into violence with little advance notice.  Have an exit plan.
  • Know the nearest “safe areas” – such as the nearest police station.
  • Avoid obvious protests or demonstrations.
  • Maintain a low profile in public by not doing anything that draws attention to you.
  • Take extra precautions when driving through crowds.  Always keep windows up and doors locked.  Plan your route in advance to avoid expected areas of congestion and chokepoints.  Maintain space to maneuver in traffic.  Park only in controlled, safe locations.
  • Ensure you and your family members know what to do in an emergency.

Security Checklist

  • Do you vary your times and routes to and from work?
  • Do you keep your doors locked and windows closed (residence and vehicle)?
  • Do you check the interior and exterior of your vehicle prior to getting into your vehicle?  Look for things that are irregular or abnormal.
  • Do you maintain a low personal profile by not doing anything that draws attention to yourself?
  • Are you alert to what is going on around you?
  • Are your colleagues and family aware of your daily plans and do they know how to reach you?
  • Schedules that are the most predictable leave you the most vulnerable.  Be unpredictable when possible in both your work and social schedules.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • In traffic, always attempt to leave space in which to maneuver.  Always leave yourself an exit.  Be prepared to take evasive action at any time.
  • Avoid choke points in travel. Be wary of diversions.
  • If you are being followed or harassed by another driver, try to find the nearest police station, hotel, or other public facility to call the Police.
  • Whenever possible, do not have a set day or pattern for shopping, errands and personal needs.  Be unpredictable.
  • Never give out your personal information such as family member and household staff names, addresses and telephone numbers in an open setting.
  • Ensure all of your family members are briefed on security measures.

 For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Kenya Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kenya located on United Nations Avenue, Nairobi, at +254 (0) 20 363 6451 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +254 (0) 20 363 6170.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Providing Assistance to U.S. Citizens is our Top Priority!