Valencia is Venezuela’s third-largest city and is a hub for manufacturing industries. Surrounded by mountains and lying next to the sea, Valencia should be a wonderfully peaceful place. But the corruption and violence raging here has caused Valencia to be ranked among the world’s most violent cities. As of 2017, the city had a murder rate of 72.02 homicides per 100,000 residents, which is considerably high.
Tourists are prime targets in Venezuela, especially in Valencia. Kidnappings have increased approximately 50 per cent from 2008 to 2009, and armed robberies are common. In recent years “express kidnapping” have emerged. These kidnappings are short-term opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from the victim. There are no safe areas in Valencia, crime can happen anywhere.
Transport And Taxis Risk: HIGH
It’s common for robberies to take place on public transport, where there is nowhere to run too. Carjackings are also a common occurrence, so it’s not safe even when in a hired vehicle. Carjackers tend to target expensive-looking vehicles, especially 4x4s. Well-armed criminal gangs operate widely, often setting up fake police checkpoints. They ram their intended victim’s vehicle from behind, or attempt to flag them down in order to rob them. Resistance to robbery often results in victims being shot dead.
Scams Risk: HIGH
Scammers in Valencia are coming up with new scams all the time, so it’s difficult not to fall for them. Scams are often discreet and difficult to detect.
More recently, ATM data was hacked and used to make unauthorized withdrawals from user’s accounts. (Reports suggest hand-held scanners are also used by thieves to steal account details). Tourists should be careful only to use ATMs in well-lit public places as to avoid being targeted by street gangs.
There is a lot of corruption in the country, and airports aren’t a safe place. You could be overcharged when paying airport tax for both international flights and domestic flights within Venezuela. Make sure to check the amount printed on the receipt issued for the tax (normally a sticker affixed to the back of your ticket) before handing over any money. Also do not hand a wallet full of money to people checking your personal items. Make sure to have a secret place for your cash.
Natural Disaster Risk: HIGH
Venezuela sees a hurricane season every year from 1 June to 30 November. The rainy season runs from May until November and carries a serious risk of floods.