Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Increased Crime in Mongolia

Although the crime rate in Mongolia is considered low, and Ulaanbaatar is relatively safe compared to other cities of comparable size, the U.S. Embassy remains concerned about increased crime in Mongolia. Yearly statistics provided by Mongolia’s National Police Agency (NPA) have indicated that overall, crime is on the rise. Crimes committed against foreigners tend to be non-confrontational in nature and primarily consist of pick-pocketing and theft of unattended property; however the U.S. Embassy also continues to receive reports of violent crime against U.S. citizens and other foreigners, including physical and sexual assault. Males are most at risk of xenophobic attacks or threats during the late evening hours at night clubs and bars, especially if they are in the company of Mongolian women. Additionally, Asian-Americans are also at risk for such attacks as they are frequently mistaken for nationals of China, Japan, or Korea, who are also known targets for nationalist groups.

In 2014, reported sexual assaults declined nationwide in Mongolia with Ulaanbaatar recording a 16.48% decrease of sexual assaults. Women, however, are still urged to be cautious when traveling alone, in isolated areas, and especially cautious at any time when consuming alcohol as victims are often sought out by attackers due to their high level of intoxication.

This message replaces the previously issued message on November 17, 2015.

The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens in Mongolian to exercise good judgment and consume alcohol responsibly when enjoying a night out. Here a few simple tips to reduce your risk:

  • Be extra cautious during the night time hours, particularly in and around bars or night clubs; avoid walking alone after consuming alcohol.
  • Intoxicated or disturbed persons intending to engage in fights are especially apt to target people who draw undue attention to themselves by flaunting material possessions or by acting in a loud manner.
  • Always create added distance between yourself and persons who are intoxicated or acting in an unusual manner, especially when they are in groups. Intoxicated persons can be unpredictable and sometimes violent. Do not try to stop and communicate with someone who is trying to get your attention or verbally insult you.
  • Although confronting an aggressor with force is sometimes an appropriate self-defense action, you should first try to create distance between yourself and an aggressor. An aggressor can be armed or working with other individuals who might be trying to distract you. A physical confrontation should be your last resort tactic when trying to avoid being harmed.
  • Avoid consuming “homemade” or counterfeit alcohol.
  • Don’t overdo it or to try compete with locals by matching their alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to accidental falls or leave a person more susceptible to criminal advances. This level of inebriation can lead to cultural misunderstandings, ruined business relations or, worse. It is not considered culturally offensive in Mongolia to politely decline alcohol.
  • Be wary of overly friendly persons inviting you to isolated or unfamiliar locations.
  • Never invite someone you are unfamiliar with into you place of residence, especially when staying in the countryside or “ger” camps.

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