Turkmenistan Crime and Safety 2010 Report Released

Tolkuchka Bazaar, Ashgabat, TurkmenistanImage via Wikipedia

OSAC released its Crime and Safety Report on Turmeninstan in early March. Quick summary below:

The Government of Turkmenistan publishes no crime statistics, but the overall rate of crime appears to be low.  Foreigners are rarely the targets of violent crime, although women in isolated surroundings face an increased risk of harassment or assault.
Foreigners  are often perceived as wealthy, encouraging occasional crimes of opportunity. Petty thieves tend to operate in crowded markets frequented by tourists, such as the Tolkuchka Bazaar. Maintaining a heightened sense of awareness and careful protection of valuables can greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim in these locations.  Displaying large quantities of cash is inadvisable.  In the center of Ashgabat, large numbers of police and other security personnel tend to deter petty crime.
There is a relatively high rate of home burglaries, as local citizens tend to keep their cash at home rather than at local banks. Home burglaries are not common for expatriates, but good residential security measures are recommended.
Violent crime does exist in Turkmenistan.  Although not publicized or officially made known to the RSO, crimes such as rape and murder are not uncommon to Turkmenistan.  These crimes affect the local population more than they affect foreigners and expatriates, and they are often linked to the drug trade and/or prostitution.

Terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in Central Asia.  However, there have been no reports of these groups operating within Turkmenistan. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets.  Due to increased security at official U.S. facilities worldwide, terrorists are seeking softer civilian targets such as residences, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, events, and resorts.  Travelers to the country should carefully weigh Turkmenistan’s proximity to regions of past and current instability.

Read the whole thing here