Personal Safety and Security During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is once again upon us. The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to exercise caution and common sense and to practice heightened personal security during the holidays.

Historically, there has been a spike in crime during this time of year throughout Kenya, including incidents of pickpocketing, mugging, carjacking, and home invasions. Crime is indiscriminate, at times violent, and can happen in any area and at all hours.

In addition, there is a continued threat of terrorist attacks in the country. Targets for these attacks could include shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, diplomatic missions, transportation hubs, religious and academic institutions, government offices, or public transportation.

Security Recommendations:

· If you 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 and police support, and multiple entries and 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 protests and demonstrations.

· Maintain a low profile in public. Don’t draw attention to yourself.

· Take extra precautions when driving through crowds. Always keep windows up and doors locked. Plan your route in advance and 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?

Schedules that are the most predictable leave you the most vulnerable. Whenever possible, do not have a set day or pattern for shopping, errands, and personal needs. Be unpredictable when possible in both your work and social schedules.

· 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.

· Avoid choke points in travel. Be wary of diversions.

In traffic, always attempt to leave space in which to maneuver and to exit. Be prepared to take evasive action at any time.

· Are you alert to what is going on around you? Always be aware of your surroundings.

· Are your colleagues and family aware of your daily plans? Do they know how to reach you?

· 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.

· 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:

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nairobi enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (https://step.state.gov/step/) . STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website (http://www.travel.state.gov/) , where you can find current Travel Warnings (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html) , including the Travel Warning for Kenya (http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/kenya-travel-warning.html) , Travel Alerts (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html) , and the Worldwide Caution (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/worldwide-caution.html) . Read the Country Specific Information for Kenya (http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/kenya.html) . For additional information, refer to “Traveler’s Checklist (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go.html) ” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us onTwitter (https://twitter.com/travelgov) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/travelgov) to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya , tel. +254-20-363-6000. You can contact the Consular Section of the Embassy by phone at +254(0)20-363-6451 or via email at Kenya_ACS@state.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call +254-(0) 20-363-6000.