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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Montenegro 2019 Crime & Safety Report

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Montenegro at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Podgorica does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

Review OSAC’s Montenegro-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Crime Threats

There is minimal risk from crime in Podgorica. Podgorica is relatively safe for a European city; crimes affecting the U.S. and international communities consist of theft and opportunistic burglary. Due to the large number of tourists visiting the coastal region during the summer (May-September), there is a significant increase in thefts and street crimes. Violent crime (e.g. assaults, robberies, home invasions) are relatively rare, but it is possible for U.S. visitors or residents to become victims. Any U.S. traveler witnessing a fight or other altercation should refrain from intervening, depart the area immediately, and notify the authorities.

There is a significant organized crime element, with numerous criminal gangs involved in loan sharking, drug smuggling, money laundering, and human trafficking. Violence among members of these groups or their affiliates is common, with car burnings and the use of improvised explosives devices (IEDs) to eliminate or intimidate rival groups or regular citizens. This issue does not specifically target the expatriate community, although members could become victims due to circumstance or proximity.

Cybersecurity Issues

Reports of cybercrime and other nefarious cyber-activity are increasing. Malicious actors engage primarily in unsophisticated website defacement and attempts to obtain personal data. There has also been an uptick in reports of denial of service (DDOS) attacks on government institutions and media organizations. The banking sector is a target of more sophisticated attacks, although this sector has demonstrated some institutional capacity to detect and defend itself.

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Driver training is mandatory for Montenegrin citizens, but signal use is occasional. Expect erratic driving with sudden lane changes. Practice particular vigilance when crossing streets or operating motor vehicles.

Driving on winding mountain roads can be hazardous. Cars often pass on blind curves, putting themselves and other travelers in additional danger. Mountain roads outside of Podgorica are vulnerable to frequent rock and mudslides. Coastal and mountain road driving is precarious, especially during periods of rain and/or snow.

Nighttime driving is hazardous, as roads in rural areas lack proper lighting. Plan to arrive at destinations before nightfall. Inclement weather (e.g. snow, heavy rains) in the winter and spring exacerbate difficult road conditions.

Public Transportation Conditions

Public transportation (e.g. buses, taxis, trains) are available and relatively cheap. Bus drivers must obtain a certification to operate a large vehicle, but there is no continuing education or recertification process. Buses are frequently poorly maintained. Taxis are generally well-regulated, but instances of overcharging do occur during the tourist season, particularly in popular coastal areas. Trains are inexpensive but prone to delays and unannounced schedule changes.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Services are reliable but limited.

Terrorism Threat

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

There is moderate risk from terrorism in Podgorica. There are no specific terrorism threats to U.S. citizens or businesses. Uncertainty surrounding the return of foreign terrorist fighters amplifies terrorism concerns throughout Europe. Non-specific and aspirational threats from international terrorist organizations also exist in the region.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Civil Unrest

There is minimal risk from civil unrest in Podgorica. Demonstrations are frequent, but usually small and non-violent; however, clashes between police and demonstrators have occurred sporadically, the last incident occurring in 2015. Causes for demonstrations are typically economic (e.g. pension/wage grievances) or political in nature.

Religious/Ethnic Violence

Montenegro is home to several different ethnic groups (e.g. Montenegrins, Serbs, Albanians), but ethnic violence is rare. Incidents based on religious faith are also rare, and not supported by the large majority of the population.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Earthquakes are endemic. The Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations Bureau rates Montenegro as a Level 2a (moderate) seismically active area.

Floods occur during the winter when heavy rains and melting snow cause local rivers to swell beyond the flood plain.

Critical Infrastructure

The disruption of critical infrastructure response services (e.g. ambulance, fire, police) after a catastrophic event is extremely likely; travelers should have contingency plans in place.

Personal Identity Concerns

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Montenegro. The law bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and the provision of goods and services, education, and health services. LGBT travelers may experience harassment for public displays of affection.

Police Response

The police are professional but have limited investigative resources and response capabilities. Consider having a speaker available with working knowledge of Montenegrin when contacting any emergency services, since English speakers are relatively rare.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

U.S. citizens detained by the police should contact the Embassy’s Consular Section at +382 20 410 536.

Crime Victim Assistance

U.S. citizen victims of crimes should report incidents to local police and the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services section at +382 20 410 500. The Embassy can assist when U.S. citizens are arrested, missing, victims of a violent crime, become ill, die, or when there is otherwise a need for immediate help.

For police assistance, call 122.

For local first responders, refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.

Police/Security Agencies

Montenegro has a national police force with sub-commands established for specific regions and functions.

Medical Emergencies

Finding quality medical care can be a challenge in Montenegro, and transport and evacuation require coordination. If injured or seriously ill, the Embassy can help find medical assistance and, upon request, notify family or friends.

To call an ambulance, dial 124.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

For medical assistance, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Insurance Guidance

If required, the U.S. Embassy can help to arrange fee-based, medical evacuation flights to the United States, but will not fund this service or any costs of any medical services. Consider purchasing travel insurance, as many U.S.-based insurance providers are not accepted. Cash payment is required when insurance is not accepted.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Montenegro.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is no active Country Council in Podgorica. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

Dzona Dzeksona 2, 81000 Podgorica

Embassy operating hours: 0700-1800; closed on U.S. and Montenegrin holidays.

Embassy Contact Numbers

Switchboard: +382 20 410 500

Marine Post One: +382 20 410 547

Website: https://me.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling to Montenegro should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.

Additional Resources

Montenegro Country Information Sheet

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