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Montenegro 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Europe > Montenegro; Europe > Montenegro > Podgorica

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Podgorica 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 PODGORICA AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS. 

Please review OSAC’s Montenegro-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

Crime Threats

Podgorica is relatively safe for a European city; crimes impacting the American and international community 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 (assaults, robberies, home invasions) are relatively rare, but it is possible for American visitors or residents to become victims. There is often retaliation after a fight that can escalate into the use of firearms. Any U.S. traveler witnessing a fight or other altercation should depart the area immediately. 

There is a significant organized crime element, with numerous criminal gangs involved in loan sharking, drug smuggling, and human trafficking. Violence among members of these groups or their affiliates is common with car burnings and the use of improvised explosives devices to intimidate other groups or regular citizens. The expatriate community is not specifically targeted, although members could become victims due to circumstance or proximity.

Cybersecurity Issues

Cybercrime is rare and mainly consists of relatively unsophisticated website defacement and attempts to obtain personal data. The banking sector is a target of more sophisticated attacks, although this sector has significant institutional capacity to detect and defend itself.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Driver training is mandatory for Montenegrin citizens, but signal use is occasional, and erratic driving with sudden lane changes is to be expected. American citizens are reminded to practice particular vigilance when crossing streets or operating motor vehicles.

Montenegro is mountainous, and driving on winding mountain roads can be hazardous. Cars often pass on the curves. Mountain roads outside of Podgorica are vulnerable to frequent rock and mudslides. Coastal and mountain roads are considered precarious, especially during periods of rain and/or snow.

Night-time driving is hazardous, as roads in rural areas lack proper lighting. It is recommended that U.S. citizens plan to arrive at destinations before nightfall. Inclement weather (snow, heavy rains) in the winter and spring exacerbate difficult road conditions.

Public Transportation Conditions

Public transportation (buses, taxis, trains) are available and relatively cheap. Bus drivers are required to obtain a certification to operate a large vehicle, but there is no continuing education or recertification, and 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. There are few flights; however, these flights allow direct connections to major transit hubs. 

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED PODGORICA 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

There are no specific terrorism threats to American citizens or businesses, although there are regional concerns, and the threat from international terrorist organizations exists.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED PODGORICA AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Civil Unrest

Demonstrations are frequent but are usually small and non-violent; however, clashes between police and demonstrators have occurred sporadically. Causes for demonstrations are typically economic, pension/wage grievances, or political in nature. 

Religious/Ethnic Violence

Montenegro is home to several ethnic groups (Montenegrins, Serbs, Albanians), but ethnic violence is rare. Incidents based on religious faith are also rare and are 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 (ambulance, fire, police) after a catastrophic event is extremely likely, so it is very important to formulate a personal plan for such situations.

Personal Identity Concerns

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) travelers may experience harassment for public displays of affection. 

Police Response

The police are professional but have limited investigative resources and response capabilities. A working knowledge of Montenegrin is recommended when contacting any emergency services since English speakers are relatively rare.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

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

Crime Victim Assistance

If U.S. citizens become victims of crimes, they should report incidents to local police and the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services 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.

Police/Security Agencies

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

Medical Emergencies

Quality medical care is available, but 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 a list of English speaking doctors and dentists, please see the Embassy webpage.

Available Air Ambulance Services

If required, the U.S. Embassy can help to arrange fee-based, medical evacuation flights to the U.S. but will not fund this service or any costs of any medical services.

Insurance Guidance

Travelers should consider travel insurance, as many U.S.-based insurance providers are not accepted. Cash payment must be made in incidents where 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 currently no active Country Council in Podgorica. Please contact OSAC’s Europe team if you are interested in private-sector engagement in Podgorica or have questions about OSAC’s Country Council programs.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

Dzona Dzeksona 2, 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro

Embassy operating hours: 0700-1800; closed on U.S. and Montenegrin holidays.
Consular operating hours: 0800-1600; routine appointments:  M-W-Th, 1000- 1130; closed on U.S. and Montenegrin holidays. 

Embassy Contact Numbers

Switchboard: +382 20 410 500
Regional Security Officer: +382 67 283 540
Marine Post One: +382 20 410 547
Consular Section: +382 20 410 536
Website: http://podgorica.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

American citizens are encouraged to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment (STEP) Program via the State Department webpage.

Additional Resources

Montenegro Country Information Sheet