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Crime Rates in Indonesia

We often get inquiries like this ... "Is it safe to live in Indonesia". Needless to say, the answers to this question are as varied and the people responding. However, since the question continues to pop up ever since the may 1998 riots ... we've decided to compile the postings from a recent Expat Forum thread on the subject.

Interpol now has crime statistics on the Internet. See the links below for the data.

Even accounting for under-reporting the differences are very large. The homicide rate in the USA remains over 15,000 people per year down from the 1991 peak of 24,700. The USA, Australia and UK should issue travel warnings on themselves! They should also offer subsidized evacuation status to all citizens who would like to be somewhere relatively safe, like Indonesia.

Crime statistics per 100,000 capita in Indonesia according to Interpol:
Homicide: 4 x safer than Aus., 14 x safer than UK, 6 x safer than US
Rape: 18x, 12x, and 32x respectively
Assault: 170x, 30x and 89x respectively
The few radical groups are under the increasing watchful eye of the police.

Sources: Interpol


These of course are recorded cases, however Indonesia is notorious for unreported crimes. If you check out crime statistics for most Third World countries they all tend to be lower. You can credit this to poor policing and poor record keeping along with a poor network of law enforcement, corruption, and outright disrespect for human life..

Indonesia reported 1500 deaths during 1998 riots. However, according to foreign credible sources 5000 people died. People who die during village riots are not even considered as murder cases. Recently a man who stole a motorcycle from a rural village within Jakarta was burned to death by local villagers. This apparently happens often. Q

Assuming HMP won't be stealing chickens or motorbikes in the kampung, and won't be a victim of State-sanctioned violence, and is unlikely to be the victim of another terrorist outrage (although there is always a very slim chance that this could happen), how safe will Indonesia be for foreigners (particularly those who might be assumed to be from America or its allies) when the sh!t hits the fan in Iraq?

May 98 is not a good example, because Westerners were not the target.

Better examples are when the Western troops landed in Afghanistan or East Timor. Any reports of attacks on Westerners then? Sure, there were threats, but any physical violence?

Certainly not in my personal experience. In fact, on the day the Interfet troops landed in Timor, a pleasant Indonesian gentleman at Pasaraya suggested I might care to look less like an Australian by not having my shirt sleeves rolled up (or maybe it had something to do with the corks hanging from my bush hat). Not that anything was likely to happen, but just in case ...

I've lived in Indonesia for over 14 years and I jokingly (but seriously) respond to questions of this kind by saying ... the most dangerous thing in Indonesia is ... the water! Drink it bottled or boiled :) D