Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Consulate Hyderabad does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED [CITY] AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s India-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
While much of the crime is generally non-violent, Hyderabad does experience a full range of criminal activity. Petty crime (theft of personal property) is most common particularly on trains, buses, and crowded streets. Criminal acts can occur at local markets and tourist areas. Foreigners can be favorable targets because they are assumed to carry a considerable amount of cash and are easily distracted. Pickpockets can be very adept, and women have reported having their bags snatched, purse straps cut, or the bottom of their purses slit in an attempt to steal belongings. Thefts of belongings can occur while in transit, particularly in major tourist areas on overnight trains and in train stations. Be especially cautious in areas where you are at an increased risk of becoming victimized, including: train stations, tourist sites, market places, festivals, and marginal areas of city. Avoid short cuts, narrow alleys, poorly-illuminated streets, and traveling alone at night.
Although violent crimes are generally uncommon, crimes against women remain a top security concern. Most crimes reported against women have been among local residents, and a large portion can be contributed to domestic disputes. Occasionally, local women riding motorbikes have had their jewelry snatched by passing riders. Although recently an increase in rape and sexual harassment has been reported, this could be attributed to an increase in women willing to report incidents, not necessarily an increase in occurrence.
A number of foreigners have fallen prey to property scams, usually being convinced to invest in property along with an Indian partner. Rarely do the partnerships survive. The trend has the Indian partner using a pretext to make a claim on the entire property, generally after construction or restoration is complete or to offer the foreign partner an inadequate sum to buy out their share. Lacking knowledge of the Indian legal system in order to fight for what is rightfully theirs, the foreign partner often loses considerable sums of money.
You should be aware of a number of other scams that have been perpetrated against foreign travelers, particularly in Goa, Jaipur, and Agra. The scams generally target younger travelers and involve suggestions that money can be made by privately transporting gems or gold (both of which can result in arrest) or by taking delivery abroad of expensive carpets, supposedly avoiding customs duties. The scam artists describe profits that can be made upon delivery of the goods and require the traveler to pay a "deposit" as part of the transaction.
Hyderabad is the hub of the information technology sector in India. The large presence of IT companies and IT skilled workforce can create an environment of increased cybersecurity risk. Companies should take steps to ensure the security of their corporate data.
Theft of financial information as well as identity theft has become a significant concern in India.
Other Areas of Concern
The Chhattisgarh borders shared with the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha remain areas of concern due to ongoing Naxalite and Maoist activity. Skirmishes between the Naxalites/Maoists and the government continue to plague the border region with violence. Clashes with the government officials are frequent. Although the U.S. government does not place this region off limits, personnel are strongly discouraged from traveling to these border areas for non-essential purposes.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Main roads are in fair condition, but the city's transportation infrastructure struggles to keep pace with its rapid growth. The result is heavy traffic congestion with poorly maintained back, residential, and access roads. Heavy traffic is normal during rush hour and includes (but is not limited to) overloaded trucks/buses, scooters, pedestrians, bullock/camel carts, bicycles, and free-roaming livestock. Road conditions worsen during the monsoon season due to flooding and erosion.
Driving is a challenge, and accidents are common due to lack of traffic enforcement, road signage, and general disregard for traffic laws. While driving, one can expect to meet local transportation traveling in the wrong direction, often without lights. Approximately half of deaths on Indian roads are among vulnerable road users: motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists – Hyderabad is no different. One should exercise extreme caution when crossing streets even in marked pedestrian areas, stay alert, and drive defensive on two wheeled vehicles, using side mirrors and constantly scanning the area.
To self-drive, you must have either a valid Indian driver’s license or a valid international driver’s license. Because of difficult road and traffic conditions, one may wish to consider hiring a local driver. Driving in rural areas after dark can be very challenging and hazardous. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report “Driving Overseas: Best Practices.”
Females are cautioned to avoid traveling alone, and police officials recommend that foreign travelers register with the local police when traveling to their district. Observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding using public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions. Restrict evening entertainment to well-known venues and avoiding walking in isolated areas alone at any time of day. Carry a mobile phone with pre-programmed emergency contact numbers, and respect local dress and custom, with an emphasis on dressing conservatively. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Traveler’s Guide to Indian Transportation Security.”
Public Transportation Conditions
The growth of Hyderabad’s population has placed strains on all transport systems in the city. The travel demand far exceeds the supply of transport infrastructure and services. Most bus and train services are overcrowded and poorly maintained. During peak travel hours, buses, trains, and rickshaws are overwhelmed.
Taxis and private vehicle services are better regulated and carry a better safety record than buses and rickshaws. Personnel should only hire reliable cars/drivers and avoid traveling alone in hired taxis – especially during the hours of darkness. Ride hailing smartphone apps (Uber) are becoming popular and do offer features to call for assistance in the event of an emergency. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings, and beware of unmarked cabs. It is preferable to obtain taxis from hotels and kiosks at airports rather than hailing them on the street. Most hotels can arrange airport pickups and drop-offs as part of the room reservation.
Beware of taxi drivers and others, including train porters, who solicit travelers with "come-on" offers of cheap transportation/hotels. Travelers accepting offers have frequently found themselves the victims of scams, including transfers to disproportionately expensive hotel rooms, unwanted "tours," unwelcome "purchases," and even threats when the tourists try to decline to pay.
When traveling via rail, lock your compartment if possible. If you must sleep, position your luggage in manner so that you are awakened if someone attempts to tamper with it. Do not be afraid to alert authorities if you feel threatened in any way. Extra police are often assigned to ride trains on routes where crime is a serious problem.
The Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) is modern and supported by an abundance of Central Industrial Security Force and police. Travelers should be particularly careful with their bags in the arrival/departure areas outside the airport. Travelers arriving at the airport are often approached by unlicensed taxi drivers offering rides. It is advised to decline these offers and use legitimate taxi kiosks.
Upon leaving the airport building, passengers should take precautions because of the large crowds and chaotic atmosphere, which is ideal for pickpockets. Passengers are also cautioned when coming out of the airport to stay away from anyone offering cheap residential accommodation or transportation. If you require assistance with luggage, make sure porters are accredited by the airport and are identifiable by their uniform. If you require a taxi service, arrange one through the multiple kiosks inside the airport.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED HYDERABAD AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Hyderabad has seen terrorist attacks, including the twin bombings in Dilsukhnagar in February 2013. Areas generally targeted included crowded, public venues. Although U.S. citizens and foreigners were not specifically targeted, one should not be complacent and remain watchful for any unusual/suspicious events.
The Naxalites/Maoists have a long history of conflict with state authorities, including frequent attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials. There have been no direct security concerns for Hyderabad or for the specific targeting of U.S. citizens, but Naxalites have attacked symbolic targets that have included Western companies and civilians suspected of cooperating with police/government officials. Naxalite/Maoist violence is primarily concentrated in the rural areas near the Chhattisgarh border with the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. There have been concerns that the Maoists rebels may spread their activities deeper into the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, but authorities have deterred such actions to date. Reports of attacks on Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force were reported in 2015.
There continues to be concern regarding violence from indigenous Islamic radical groups, most notably the Indian Mujahedeen (IM). IM is responsible for dozens of bomb attacks and has killed hundreds of civilians. IM's goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective: an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia.
Reports of ISIS-linked subjects being arrested in the Hyderabad area is a reminder of the need to maintain security awareness and remain vigilant.
Anti-Western terrorist groups and Islamist extremist groups, some on the U.S. government's list of FTOs, are active (Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e Taiba (LT or LeT), Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI). Past attacks have targeted public places frequented by Westerners: luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places but could occur at any time.
U.S. citizens should always practice good security awareness. Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile. Monitor local news reports, vary routes/times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when visiting public places (including religious sites) or when choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment/recreation venues.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED HYDERABAD AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Demonstrations/protests/celebrations are common and generally non-aggressive, but the potential exists for them to turn violent. Demonstrations and general strikes (bandhs) often impact city operations and strain security resources. Local demonstrations can begin spontaneously and escalate with little warning, disrupting transportation systems and city services and posing risks to travelers.
Large religious ceremonies that attract thousands of people can result in dangerous, often life-threatening stampedes.
Authorities occasionally impose curfews and/or restrict travel. Personnel are urged to avoid demonstrations and rallies, as they have the potential for violence, especially immediately preceding and following elections and religious festivals.
Tensions between castes and religious groups can result in disruptions and violence. Hyderabad continues to struggle with communal violence predominantly between Hindu and Muslim groups, but in 2014, the Consulate also saw minor skirmishes between Sikh and Muslim groups. These clashes are often spontaneous, leaving non-participants vulnerable to harm during the fighting. U.S. citizens should monitor local television, print media, or utilize the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. Consulate social media tools for further information about unstable situations.
Natural disasters can occur and are usually in the form of flooding during the monsoon season (June-September). For Hyderabad, streets can see temporary, low-level flash flooding that hampers travel and causes heavy traffic congestion and delays. Parts of Andhra Pradesh can receive particularly heavy rainfall. In December 2015, heavy rain hit Tamil Nadu, killing more than 500 people, and over 18 million were displaced with cost estimates of heavy damages and losses. The floods were among the costliest natural disasters of the year.
In 2014, Cyclone Hudhud hit the east coast near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh with 110mph winds. The cyclone severely damaged the airport and 80% of the green cover and left the city of over two million residences without power and water for five days.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the U.S., you may be breaking local law too.
Some vendors sell carpets, jewelry, gemstones, or other expensive items that may not be of the quality promised. Deal only with reputable businesses, and do not hand over your money unless you are certain that goods being shipped are the goods you purchased. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is best avoided.
India’s Constitution does not guarantee a right to privacy for foreigners or Indian citizens.
Most of the drugs that are illegal in the U.S. are also illegal in India. In fact, some drug laws are stricter than those in the U.S. Indian officials conduct major anti-drug operations, especially at transportation hubs (airports, train stations). Undercover narcotics officers are known to frequent clubs and hotels in attempts to apprehend drug users and dealers.
Kidnapping of foreigners is rare but has occurred. Travelers should remain vigilant and maintain situational awareness at all times. Kidnappings of children and women in the local community occur with some frequency.
The police do an effective job of managing large-scale protests and are responsive to security requests; however, overall police assistance is delayed when compared Western standards, with extended response times. Even when a suspect is arrested, the length of time it may take for a case to be heard in court is often several years. For more information, see Hyderabad City Police website.
While you are traveling in India you are subject to its laws. Indian laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. It is very important to know what is and is not legal. Travelers should refrain from taking pictures of government facilities, train stations, airports, power plants, or other key sites receiving protection from the government. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.”
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
If you are a U.S. citizen and are arrested in India you have a right to notify, or have officials notify, the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate of your arrest. Insist on this right since it is often overlooked. Though the Embassy/Consulates cannot intervene in legal matters, they can provide information on lawyers, the local justice system, can visit you if you are incarcerated, and can serve as a liaison with parties approved by you.
Crime Victim Assistance
The local emergency line in India is 100.
If you are a U.S. citizen and become the victim of a crime, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate - contact the police first for immediate assistance. For violent crimes, the Consulate does offer services and guidance to appropriate medical care and assistance in contacting family members or friends. For Hyderabad, please call the 24-hour operator at the Consulate and ask for American Citizen Services at (0)40-4033-8300.
If you are a victim of a crime, you need to obtain a copy of the police report (FIR) from local police at the time of reporting the incident. Local authorities generally are unable to take any meaningful action without the filing of a police report.
If you lose your passport, you should immediately report the theft/loss to the police in the location where your passport was stolen. A police report is required by the Indian government in order to obtain an exit visa. Although the Embassy/Consulate is able to replace a stolen or lost passport, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) are responsible for approving an exit visa. This process can take three to four working days.
The quality of medical care in India varies considerably. Medical care is available in the major population centers that approaches and occasionally meets Western standards, but adequate medical care is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas. The local medical emergency number is 108.
Before going to India, travelers -- especially those with preexisting/complicated medical issues or pregnancy -- should identify adequate health care providers/facilities at their destination.
Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Companies offering vacation packages bundled with medical consultations and financing options provide direct-to-consumer advertising over the Internet. Such medical packages often claim to provide high quality care, but the quality of health care is highly variable. People seeking health care should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the U.S. and are not subject to the same rules, regulations, or oversight. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report “Medical Tourism Surging.” Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and refer to the information from CDC.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
There are two main hospitals that are recommended for emergency care:
Road Number 2, Financial District, Nanakramguda,
Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana 500035, India
Tel: +91 40 6700 0000
Jubilee Hills, Near to Film Nagar
Hyderabad, Telangana 500033, India
Tel: +91 40 2360 7777
The Joint Commission International (JCI) aims to improve patient safety through accreditation and certification of health care facilities worldwide. Facilities that are accredited through JCI demonstrate a standard level of quality. A list of these facilities can be found on their website.
Available Air Ambulance Services
Do not assume your insurance will provide coverage while overseas. It is very important to find out before you leave. In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits. If your policy does not go with you when you travel, it is a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information on medical insurance, see the CDC website for Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance, & Medical Evacuation Insurance.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for India.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Hyderabad Country Council currently meets twice a year and has approximately 75 members. Please contact OSAC’s South and Central Asia team with any questions or to join.
U.S. Consulate Location and Contact Information
Consulate Address and Hours of Operation
The U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad is at Paigah Palace, 1-8-323 Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet, Secunderabad, Telangana, 500003; and is open from 0830-1700, Mon-Fri.
Consulate Contact Numbers
Embassy New Delhi: https://in.usembassy.gov/
Consulate Chennai: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/chennai/
Consulate Kolkata: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/kolkata/
Consulate Mumbai: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/mumbai/
Virtual Presence Post Bangalore: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/bengaluru/
Travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Benefits of enrolling in STEP:
- Receive important information from the Consulate about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
- Help the Consulate contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
- Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
India Country Information Sheet