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Norway 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Europe > Norway; Europe > Norway > Oslo

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

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

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

Crime Threats

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 Oslo for 2016 decreased from 2015, down 4.5 percent. Total crime statistics for 2016 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 has been centered 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 what can be considered Oslo’s higher crime areas, making instances of property crime and/or petty theft more likely to occur.

Though thefts are the overwhelming majority of cases reported, overall there was a 10.4 percent decrease from the previous year. Violent and weapons-related crimes (including physical/non-physical threats) increased by 9.6 percent. 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 the greatest increase in 2016, with an increase of 27.9 percent. The large increase can be attributed to a few large cases that involved many victims.

American citizens should make every effort to maintain a low profile and should avoid wearing items that draw attention to themselves.

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 5.4 percent in 2016.

Other Areas of Concern

Travel in all areas of Norway is considered 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.

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

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 12 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 are often set up in the mornings to catch people who drank heavily the previous night and still have alcohol in their system.

Public Transportation Conditions

Transportation of all forms is generally considered reliable and safe.

Other Travel Conditions

The climate causes occasional problems for the traveler. Mountain roads are narrow and winding. Some mountain roads are closed 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. Travelers should 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

Recently published government reports indicate that a growing number of Norwegian citizens and legal residents have taken part in militant activities outside of Norway, primarily in Syria and eastern Africa. In October 2013, a Norwegian citizen of African descent played a prominent role in planning and carrying out a terrorist attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya (see OSAC Reporting on Westgate Mall). Norwegian officials have expressed concerns that such individuals could present a serious threat if/when they return to Norway.

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 be operating in Norway.

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment

Anti-American 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 U.S. These protests have generally been staged at the U.S. Embassy or in the central areas of Oslo and have not targeted U.S. citizens.

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 assigned to be 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.

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 what is seen in other Western European nations. At night, especially during the weekend, open drug use by heroin addicts can be seen 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.

Police Response

The police can be counted on to provide adequate services to foreigners. The police are generally responsive, professional, and cooperative. Law enforcement personnel are well-trained, 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.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

The legal system is similar to that of the U.S. American citizens who are detained by law enforcement authorities should request immediate notification to the U.S. Embassy Oslo. Persons detained by the police cannot be held for more than four hours without being formally charged with a crime. Free legal advice is available.

Crime Victim Assistance

The police emergency number is 112.

If you are a U.S. citizen experiencing an emergency, please call: (011 47) 2130 8540. An Embassy duty officer will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle emergencies.

Police/Security Agencies

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

Private security companies are prevalent and can be seen performing duties in train stations, shopping malls, and movie theaters. The private security companies are considered professional but often suffer high employee turnover rates due to relatively low pay and limited room for employee advancement. Any private security company must be authorized by the government, 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.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

Aleris Medical Centre
Phone: 22 54 10 00
Address: Frederik Stangs gt. 11-13, 0264 Oslo
Hours: 08:00 – 16:00 from Monday to Friday
Closed weekends and public holidays.
Offers walk-in or scheduled appointments.

Legevakt Vest
Phone: 23 25 11 11
Address: Silurveien 2, 0380 Oslo.
Hours: Mon – Fri: 09.00 – 21.00, Saturday: 10:00 – 16.00, Sunday and PH: 12:00 – 18:00
Offers walk-in or scheduled appointments.

Oslo Akutten
Phone: 22 00 81 60
Address: Rosenkrantz gate 9, 0159 Oslo.
Hours: Mon – Wed: 08.00 – 19.00, Thursday: 08.00 – 17.00, Friday: 08.00 – 16.00, Saturday: 09.00 – 15.00.
Closed Sundays and public holidays.
Offers walk-in or scheduled appointments.

Volvat Medical Centre
Phone: 22 95 75 00
Address: Borgenveien 2A, 0370 Oslo
Hours: 08:00 - 22:00 Monday to Friday, and 10:00 - 22:00 on weekends and PH.
Offers walk-in or scheduled appointments.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Air ambulance service, as well as ambulance service by boat (applicable to those in outlying islands), is available. After the medical emergency number is called, officials will make the determination if/when such ambulance services are warranted.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

In Oslo and the other large cities, air pollution in the winter months is prevalent (said in large part to be 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. Please contact OSAC’s Europe team if you are interested in private-sector engagement in Oslo or have questions about OSAC’s Country Council programs.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

The U.S. Embassy in Oslo is located near the Royal Palace at Henrik Ibsens gate 48.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 0800-1700

Embassy Contact Numbers

Operator tel. (47) 2130-8540
Fax (47) 2243-0777
Consular Section tel. (47) 2130-8715, fax (47) 2256-2751
Foreign Commercial Service tel. (47) 2130-8866 fax (47)2255-8803
Regional Security Office tel. (47) 2130-8972, fax (47) 2130-8920
Website: http://norway.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

Please review U.S. Embassy Oslo guidance to visiting the embassy.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 

Additional Resources

Norway Country Information Sheet