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Overseas Security Advisory Council
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Norway 2020 Crime & Safety Report

This is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. OSAC encourages travelers to use this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Norway. For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s country-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.

Travel Advisory

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

Overall Crime and Safety Situation 

Crime Threats

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Oslo as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Norway has a relatively low level of crime in comparison to the U.S. and Western European countries with large populations. The amount of total crimes reported in Norway for 2018 decreased 0.2% from 2017. Total crime statistics for 2019 were not available at the time of publication.  

The majority of the criminal cases reported to the police continue to be theft-related incidents. In Oslo and the other major urban areas, crime focuses in the inner city and high transit areas. Tourists and other short-term visitors should be aware that instances of pickpocketing and petty theft are common in the major tourist areas, hotel lobbies, and in the areas around train and transit stations. Most hotels and tourist areas are located within walking distance of Oslo’s higher crime areas, making instances of property crime and/or petty theft more likely to occur. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security.

Travel in all areas of Norway is safe. Areas close to and immediately east of the main train station in downtown Oslo have higher instances of open drug use and crime in general, especially at night. Review OSAC’s report, All That You Should Leave Behind.

Organized crime does exist, but on a small scale. Drug trafficking, petty theft, and home burglary rings typify organized crime, which is often associated within immigrant youth communities or transiting criminal rings from outside of Norway. Reports of crimes involving drugs decreased from 46,930 reports in 2017 to 45,699 reports in 2018, a decrease of 2.6%. 

Thefts are the overwhelming majority of cases reported. Overall, there were 92,866 reports of theft in 2018, a 2.1% decrease from the previous year. Violent and weapons-related crimes (including physical/non-physical threats) increased from 36,687 reports in 2017 to 37,461 reports in 2018, an increase of 2.1%. These crimes usually occur in areas known to have drug trafficking and gang problems, such as certain parts of Eastern Oslo and elsewhere. Sexual crimes saw an increase from 7,986 reports in 2017 to 8,386 reports in 2018, an increase of 5%. The rise in reports relates in some extent to recent changes in criminal sexual conduct laws, which resulted in an increase in documented attempted rape and rape statistics.  

Parks in Oslo, even in safer neighborhoods, have been the sites of several sexual assaults and muggings in the past few years. Targeted individuals have generally been either alone or in small groups, walking late at night in areas without much pedestrian traffic or ambient light.  

U.S. nationals should make every effort to maintain a low profile and should avoid wearing items that draw attention to themselves. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for female travelers.

Transportation-Safety Situation 

Road Safety and Road Conditions  

There is a relative scarcity of freeways, and the roads are often narrow with repair projects underway. Despite this, the frequency of traffic accidents is generally low in comparison to Western Europe.  

Individuals involved in an accident resulting in injury must call the police and should not move the vehicles before police arrive. Those involved should fill out an accident report but should not discuss guilt and should not drink alcohol for six hours afterward.  

Norway has very restrictive laws regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Norwegian law prescribes heavy penalties for even a very low blood alcohol level; .02% is the legal limit. Police checkpoints inspecting for drivers under the influence of alcohol are routine and often appear in the mornings to catch people who drank heavily the previous night and still have alcohol in their system.

Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Public Transportation Conditions  

Transportation of all forms is generally reliable and safe. 

Other Travel Conditions 

The climate causes occasional problems for travel. Mountain roads are narrow and winding. Some mountain roads close from late fall to late spring due to blockage by snowfall or danger of avalanches. Icy road conditions are a concern during the winter. Oslo has lowered speed limits in the city to alleviate winter air pollution. Spring flooding can create traffic delays. Keep weather conditions in mind when planning any type of travel around Norway.  

Terrorism Threat 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Oslo as being a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorist activity directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. 

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns  

Norway has open borders as part of the Schengen agreement. Those crossing by land between Sweden and Norway rarely have to stop or show any identification. Because of the ease of entry, it is possible for any threat that exits in any other part of the Schengen zone to enter Norway. However, no recognized international terrorist group is known to operate in Norway. 

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment  

Anti-U.S. activities can best be characterized as small, planned, and generally peaceful demonstrations, either against a particular U.S. policy or advocating that a particular course of action be taken by the U.S. government. For instance, demonstrations have focused on the U.S. policy regarding Palestinian and Israeli issues, U.S. actions in Iraq, relations with Cuba, and capital punishment in the United States. These protests have generally occurred outside the U.S. Embassy or in the central areas of Oslo, and have not targeted U.S. nationals. 

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Oslo as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. 

Civil Unrest  

Norway is a very peaceful nation, and civil unrest is extremely limited. The police in Oslo have greatly increased the training of their officers in riot control techniques. While possible, it is unlikely that riotous protests would escalate to a point of violence. Police are present at and monitor all known demonstrations, and specially trained anti-riot officers are present whenever a demonstration might turn violent. There is no threat from war and/or civil unrest. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Post-specific Concerns 

Environmental Hazards 

There are occasional problems with flooding and landslides in certain areas, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. A larger issue is heavy winter snowfall in the mountainous areas. 

Drug-related Crimes 

Drug problems are increasingly becoming similar to other Western European nations. At night, especially during the weekend, one can see open drug use by heroin addicts in downtown Oslo, especially near the main train station. As a result, other types of criminal activity have increased in these areas. There are no known issues with narcoterrorism.

Personal Identity Concerns

Norway was one of the first countries in the world to enact anti-discrimination laws explicitly including sexual orientation. Norway is one of the world's most LGBT-friendly nations, with high societal acceptance and tolerance of the LGBTI+ community. The Norwegian public has very high levels of support for same-sex marriage. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.

While in Norway, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from that in the United States. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

  • Oslo Gardermoen International Airport (OSL) is accessible to wheelchair users and the staff is very helpful with accessibility issues.
  • The Oslo subway/light-rail system (T-banen) has above-average wheelchair accessibility.
  • Taxis drivers are generally helpful in assisting wheelchair users. It is possible to order taxis with wheelchair lifts.
  • From December to March, it is extremely difficult for wheelchair users to navigate Oslo’s streets without assistance due to snow and ice.
  • Shopping malls, hotels, public buildings, and most modern structures will have handicap accessible toilets.
  • Fewer than half of the restaurants in Norway are wheelchair accessible and many have restrooms located up or down a flight of stairs.
  • Many modern public structures, such as shopping centers, substitute inclined moving walkways/ramps for elevators, which are difficult for wheelchair users to use safely.

Police Response 

The police emergency line in Norway is 112. For fire or major Accident, the number is 110For non-emergencies, call 02800Download the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Foreign travelers can count on the police to provide adequate services. The police are generally responsive, professional, and cooperative. Law enforcement personnel have excellent training, and almost all speak fluent English. Their emergency response time is good, except in remote areas, and their equipment is excellent. Uniformed police patrol on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, horse, and car. Police usually do not come to the scene of routine non-violent crimes (non-injury vehicle accidents, residential burglaries). Official corruption is extremely rare and is punishable under the law. 

The legal system is similar to that of the United States. Detained U.S. nationals should request immediate notification to the U.S. Embassy Oslo. Persons cannot be detained for more than four hours without being formally charged with a crime. Free legal advice is available. 

Police have a counter-terrorism squad, which consists of specially trained officers who can respond quickly to large-scale emergencies.   

Private security companies are prevalent and perform duties in train stations, shopping malls, and movie theaters. The private security companies are professional but often suffer high employee turnover rates due to relatively low pay and limited room for employee advancement. The government must authorize any private security company, and guards must go through prescribed training before they can perform any security guard services.  

Medical Emergencies 

Emergency medical assistance is widely available, and emergency room care is generally of high quality and for the most part equivalent to U.S. standards. The ambulance emergency number is 113. 

All public Urgent Care facilities in Norway have the same number, which automatically routes the caller to the closest facility: 116117.

Air ambulance service, as well as ambulance service by boat (applicable to those in outlying islands) is available. After you call the medical emergency number, officials will determine the necessity of such services. Find contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate website.

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Departments webpage on insurance overseas.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance  

In Oslo and in other large cities, air pollution in the winter months is prevalent (largely caused by the use of studded tires on the asphalt) and can affect those with asthma or other respiratory problems. 

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Norway 

OSAC Country Council Information  

There is currently no active Country Council in Norway. Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more information.  

U.S. Embassy Contact Information  

U.S. Embassy in Oslo is located at Morgedalsvegen 36, at Makrellbekken

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 0800-1700

Tel: +(47) 2130-8540; Consular: +(47) 2130-8540; Emergency after-hours:  +(47) 2130-8540

Website: https://no.usembassy.gov/ 

 Helpful Information

Before you travel, consider the following resources:

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