Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Embassy Jakarta 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 establishment and assumes no responsibility for the quality of services provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED JAKARTA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.
Please review OSAC’s Indonesia-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
Due to the reluctance of many Indonesians and expatriates to report crimes, statistics on criminal activity and crime trends may reflect a degree of under-reporting, and the record-keeping methodology of the Indonesian National Police cannot be confirmed. Nevertheless, for 2016, the Jakarta Metropolitan Police Local Crime Index reported 61 murders; 59 rapes; 1,596 aggravated assaults; 26 burglaries; 637 thefts; and 2,941 vehicle thefts.
Indonesian criminals are generally reluctant to use force and usually do not harm their victims unless confronted with violence. The most common crimes are property crimes (personal and snatch-and-grab robberies) that have impacted expatriates. There were no reports of incidents involving U.S. Embassy personnel in 2016, though two incidents of theft against U.S. Embassy personnel occurred in 2015.
- One involved an Embassy employee walking along a busy street while texting on his smartphone, which a passing moped driver attempted to steal.
- A separate incident occurred when an Embassy employee, against the guidance of the Regional Security Office (RSO), rode in an open-air bajaj (the local equivalent of a tuk-tuk) and suffered minor injuries when her handbag was stolen by a male on a passing moped.
Pickpocketing regularly affects local residents and visitors, with most incidents occurring in crowded areas (mass transit, markets, pedestrian areas).
The majority of credit/debit card crime typically involves dishonest employees of smaller businesses, shops, and restaurants copying numbers or swiping cards through a skimmer that enables them to make fraudulent cards with valid credit card numbers. Travelers are encouraged to limit credit card use to major hotel chains, restaurants, and well-known businesses.
Vehicle theft and residential break-ins occur periodically; in 2016, there were a small number of violent home invasions in elite Jakarta neighborhoods that were relatively atypical but garnered significant press coverage.
Incidents of drink-spiking and subsequent robbery – typically perpetrated either by females in hotel rooms or by male companions while in transit to hotels – have been reported.
Organized crime remains a problem and has not been addressed effectively, though it tends to have a modest impact on expatriates. Illegal logging/fishing, human trafficking, the sale of illicit/counterfeit drugs, and corruption continue as well. In some instances, the prosecution of individuals is unsuccessful because of payoffs/bribes to corrupt government officials, including judges.
Visitors should note that crime in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia tends to increase before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. This is reportedly due, in part, to the pressure of providing gifts for family members and obtaining money for the Eid Al-Fitri holiday, which is extremely important to the majority of Indonesians.
As use of the Internet continues to grow, so does the incidence of Internet fraud. Hoax news stories are an increasing problem in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia as is the spread of false information exacerbated by the extremely high usage levels of social media platforms.
Areas of Concern
There are areas in which the chances of becoming a victim of a crime are greater.
Block M in South Jakarta, a largely affluent area with international schools and multinational corporations in which a large number of expatriates reside, is notorious for bars/nightclubs of dubious reputation at which prostitutes, drugs, and criminal activity are present. Some expatriates visit Block M, but those who do should remain extra vigilant. Police sources report that South Jakarta has become an increasingly attractive target for criminals.
The Ancol Port area and other areas (Glodok) in North Jakarta are also well-known for bars, nightclubs, and a higher crime rate than other areas of the city. Several establishments in North Jakarta are off-limits for U.S. Embassy personnel due to high incidence of crime, drugs, and prostitution (and consequent frequent police raids). These include Alexis, Colosseum, Crown, Illigals, Malioboro, Millie’s International, Paragon Club, Stadium Lounge, Sun City, and V2 Karaoke.
Visitors should check before traveling to Central Sulawesi and Papua (the sole two provinces to which travel by U.S. Embassy personnel is restricted), and Aceh. These areas have the potential for increased crime, civil disturbance, and political violence due to ethnic, religious, and separatist tensions.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Road conditions vary from good to dangerously poor. Visitors will find Jakarta traffic conditions extremely difficult due to massive congestion, undisciplined drivers, and numerous motorcycles/mopeds. Additionally, traffic flows on the left side of the road. The number of vehicles, estimated to increase by 10% per year, far exceeds the capacity of roadway infrastructure. Road safety awareness is very low, and many drivers, especially those on motorcycles/mopeds, disregard most traffic laws. Accidents on rented motorcycles constitute the majority of expatriate deaths in Indonesia, especially on Bali.
Toll roads are modern, multi-lane, and well-maintained, but usually over-crowded. Most roads outside of the major cities are single-lane and overly congested with a variety of vehicles from 18-wheel trucks to small mopeds. It is common for vehicles to pass on either side of the road, or shoulder, while driving at a high rate of speed and swerving to avoid colliding with bicycles or horse/ox carts. Driving at night outside of major cities is strongly discouraged.
Because of the unique and dangerous driving conditions, the majority of Embassy employees, Western expatriates, and affluent Indonesians hire personal drivers. Rental car companies offer drivers, and RSO strongly recommends that travelers consider hiring personal drivers from a reputable company.
If an accident involving personal injury occurs, Indonesian law requires both drivers to wait for the arrival of the police. Although Indonesian law requires third-party insurance, most drivers are uninsured. Even if they are insured, it is common for insurance companies to refuse to pay damages. The driver of the larger vehicle will likely be held liable in an accident.
Public Transportation Conditions
Visitors should generally avoid public mass transit.
The use of disreputable and freelance taxis has resulted in crimes. The most common scenario involves the driver taking a passenger, usually female, to a remote area where other males, occasionally armed, rob them of valuables. In some instances, criminals demand debit card PINs and/or drive the victim to an ATM and force the withdrawal of cash.
If using a taxi, Blue Bird, Silver Bird, and Express registered taxis have proven reliable. Travelers should always ensure that the driver knows where they are going and are encouraged to notify someone if traveling outside of Jakarta.
Indonesia experiences frequent transportation accidents, including plane crashes and non-fatal runway overruns. In 2016, Indonesia received a Category 1 rating from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, following compliance by the country’s civil aviation authority with International Civil Aviation Office (ICAO) standards.
Other Travel Conditions
It is imperative that American citizens, especially when in rural/remote areas of the country, conduct due diligence to confirm that travel agencies, tour companies, and rental drivers are legitimate.
- In September 2015, a group of official and unofficial Americans booked a Krakatau (volcano) day tour with an unverified tour company. The driver of the tour company vehicle was not authorized to drive it and was not even an official employee of the company. A serious vehicle accident occurred on a single-lane, poorly-maintained road injuring all six American passengers, who required immediate medical attention.
In 2016, there continued to be serious accidents involving inter-island ferries, multiple of which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries. Overcrowding is common, regulation is lax, safety equipment is often missing, and adherence to safety standards is often minimal.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED JAKARTA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Several members of terrorist organizations, including Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), trained at al-Qa’ida bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of those individuals have been either killed or imprisoned, but JI, JAT, and other pro-ISIS terrorist groups and sympathetic lone wolf individuals continue to aspire to commit attacks, especially against Indonesian police and security forces, Indonesian government facilities, and/or Western interests.
Throughout 2016, law enforcement officials pursued terrorist cells aggressively and successfully throughout the country, disrupting multiple aspirational plots. Indonesia cooperated on a wide range of counterterrorism efforts with local and international partners, including the U.S.
Indonesia experienced at least five separate attacks in 2016 attributed to the influence of ISIS:
- On November 13, a toddler was killed, and three other children were wounded when an attacker threw Molotov cocktails at a church in Samarinda (East Kalimantan).
- On October 20, an individual stabbed three policemen with a knife at a traffic police post in Tangerang (West Java) before being shot by authorities.
- On August 27, a 17-year old male conducted an attack at a church in Medan (North Sumatra) using crude pipe bombs and a knife. The bombs failed to detonate, but when one device under his shirt began burning the attacker, he rushed the altar, stabbing the priest in the arm before parishioners could detain him.
- On July 5 (the last day of Ramadan), an individual conducted a failed suicide bombing against a police station in Solo (East Java). The motorcycle-borne attacker killed himself and injured a police officer.
- On January 14, eight people – including four militants – were killed in a terrorist attack at a densely populated shopping area in downtown Jakarta. The incident marked the first attack in the capital since 2009. Incarcerated extremist ideologue Aman Abdurahman is believed to have masterminded the attack with assistance from incarcerated 2004 Australian Embassy bomber Rois and Syria-based Indonesian foreign fighter Abu Jandal.
The Indonesian government established the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) in 2010 that represented a major step toward enhancing law enforcement efforts and countering violent extremism. BNPT is responsible for coordinating prevention efforts, international programs, and counterterrorism operations. BNPT readjusted the structure of Detachment 88 (the INP’s elite counterterrorism unit) to combat smaller, more dispersed terrorist cells. It also manages the nation’s counter- and de-radicalization programs, both of which are whole-of-government efforts.
Violent extremist networks and terrorist cells remain intact and have the capacity to become operational and conduct attacks with little/no warning. The same is true of “lone wolf” or individually inspired ISIS sympathizers. INP has limited resources to monitor extremists, a challenge that will grow as terrorists are released from prisons and as fighters and family members return from Iraq and Syria.
There are isolated pockets of anti-Western sentiment.
In 2016, U.S. Embassy Jakarta did not experience any protests directly targeting the Embassy.
In 2015, the Embassy experienced eight anti-American demonstrations, the majority of which were sparked by U.S. foreign policy decisions in the Middle East and/or labor disputes involving U.S. companies in Indonesia.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED JAKARTA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Multiple demonstrations occur in Jakarta on a daily basis. In 2016, Jakarta experienced approximately 1,690 demonstrations (an increase from 1,480 in 2015), the majority of which had a nexus to labor/wage disputes or corruption. Common areas for protest activity include: the National Monument (MONAS) Square, Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, the Presidential Palace, and the U.S. Embassy (protestors frequently pass by the Embassy main entrance en route to other locations). The great majority of these demonstrations are peaceful and police presence is normally sufficient to maintain order
Some have become violent, particularly when involving issues related to religion. Of note, two large-scale demonstrations related to blasphemy charges leveled against the Governor of Jakarta (in November and December 2016) occurred in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy and involved crowds upward of 100,000 protestors. After the November 4 demonstration, looting, arson, and related criminal activity occurred in neighborhoods with significant ethnic Chinese populations (Jakarta’s Governor is ethnically Chinese and Christian).
The RSO recommends avoiding all demonstrations since even those intended to be peaceful can become violent.
Localized political violence and civil unrest due to ethnic, sectarian, religious, and separatist reasons is a possibility in the vast Indonesian archipelago.
Papua has a persistent separatist movement, which includes a small number of armed guerrillas who have attacked police and military in the Puncak Jaya area of the highlands, where security forces continue to pursue them.
In Jakarta and other cities with sizeable ethnic Chinese populations, there are occasional incidents and concerns related to latent anti-Chinese sentiment, sometimes linked to the belief that Chinese nationals are taking jobs from citizens.
Indonesia is located on the "ring of fire" and contains the most volcanoes of any country in the world; 76 of them are believed to be active. Significant volcanic activity occurs on Java, Sumatra, the Sunda Islands, Halmahera Island, Sulawesi Island, Sangihe Island, and in the Banda Sea. Indonesia has deployed an effective volcano monitoring system, which has enabled the government to inform the population about potential eruptions and to direct evacuations to prevent casualties. Recent major eruptions include the eruption of Mount Rinjani (Lombok Island east of Bali) in September 2016, which caused ash to reach 2,000 meters and disrupted flight patterns.
Indonesia also experiences tsunamis, earthquakes, and flooding. According to earthquaketrack.com, Indonesia experienced approximately 484 earthquakes in 2016 (a decrease from 599 in 2015).
During the rainy season, floods and mudslides wreak havoc in many areas, including Jakarta. In general, the rainiest season is December-March. Western and northern parts of Indonesia experience the most precipitation, since the north- and westward-moving monsoon clouds are heavy with moisture by the time they reach these, more distant regions. Every year throughout Indonesia, significant numbers of Indonesians become displaced or are injured due to extreme flooding and mudslides, especially in rural/remote regions.
Indonesia is on the Special 301 priority watch list for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. Indonesia’s failure to protect intellectual property and enforce IPR laws has resulted in high levels of physical and online piracy. The International Intellectual Property Alliance estimates that approximately 87% of business software is unlicensed, while retail piracy rates are likely even higher.
The Indonesian government has signed and ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties, but further clarifications of its Copyright Law are needed to implement these treaties.
Indonesian Customs, INP, and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) stationed at the air and seaports of major cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Medan) continue to arrest drug couriers. Further investigation of many of these smuggling attempts has revealed that Indonesia has become a primary destination for drug smuggling operations controlled by Chinese, Iranian, and West African drug trafficking organizations.
In addition to an increase in methamphetamine (“ice”) seizures, law enforcement officials have identified and seized large volumes of synthetic drugs (ecstasy, ketamine). The demand for illegal drugs remains high; and INP and BNN continue to coordinate with other foreign and domestic law enforcement agencies to stem the steady flow of illegal drugs.
Penalties for the possession, use, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe, including the possibility of execution for more serious crimes. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. The death sentence may be imposed in cases involving drug trafficking, and multiple convicted traffickers have been executed in recent years, including foreign nationals.
There were isolated cases of kidnapping in Jakarta in 2016, but these had little impact on the expatriate community. Kidnappings are typically financially-motivated, and the perpetrators are usually familiar with the victim and/or victim's family.
Police are limited in their ability to respond quickly and efficiently to reports of crime and other emergencies due to insufficient transportation, inadequate training, and limited investigative ability. Skills are improving due to programs offered by the U.S. International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program (ATA), the Bangkok-based International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), and others.
Corruption continues to be a problem, and police officers routinely augment meager salaries by accepting payments from motorists who violate traffic laws. Police sometimes charge victims to investigate crimes or to return recovered stolen property.
Persons violating Indonesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
The sex industry, including the commercial exploitation of children, is widespread and is a key focus of law enforcement efforts.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
Any U.S. citizen who is arrested should call the Embassy at 62-21-3435-9000 ext. 0 for the operator and ask for the Duty Officer. The individual should remain calm and consider the advice, assistance, and information provided by the Consular Officer, who are often able to visit detainees/arrestees expeditiously.
Crime Victim Assistance
Police assistance can be obtained by dialing 110 or 112 in Jakarta, but the number is often busy, and in most cases the operator may have limited English-language abilities. The RSO recommends that visitors, especially those planning to stay for an extended period, identify the cell and landline numbers for the nearest police station and program them into their phone.
The Indonesian National Police (INP, POLRI) is headquartered in South Jakarta and handles day-to-day traffic operations, criminal investigations, and protection of vital property and personnel.
The National Narcotics Board (Badan Narkotika Nasional, BNN) deals with nationwide narcotics issues and is commanded by a two-star police general. BNN is the Indonesian equivalent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The National Counter-Terrorism Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme, BNPT) is a national level counter-terrorism agency under the Coordinating Ministry for Legal and Security Affairs. BNPT coordinates interagency efforts to eradicate terrorism, working closely with INP’s Special Detachment 88 in its counterterrorism efforts.
Embassy employees and private U.S. citizens typically travel to Singapore for treatment of serious medical conditions.
Ambulance services are mostly unavailable – and unreliable at best – so they should not be counted on to transport injured persons to hospitals. Instead, taxis/private vehicles are usually used to transport auto accident victims to hospitals.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
Jalan Puri Sakti 10, Cipete, South Jakarta
Siloam Hospital Lippo Karawaci
JI. Siloam No. 6, Lippo Karawaci 1600, Tangerang 15811
Pondok Indah Hospital
Jalan Metro Duta 1, Pondok Indah, Jakarta
Tel: 62-21-750-2322 or 62-21-750-0157
Available Air Ambulance Services
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Indonesia.
OSAC Country Council Information
The OSAC Jakarta Country Council includes three co-chairs and meets approximately quarterly, often in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce Indonesia. Please contact OSAC’s East Asia and the Pacific team with any questions.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
U.S. Embassy Jakarta
Medan Merdeka Selatan 5
Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
Hours: Mon-Fri, 0730-1600 (excluding U.S. and local holidays)
Embassy Contact Numbers
Marine Post One: 62-21-3435-9221
Regional Security Office: 62-21-3435-9012
Consular Section: 62-21-3435-9050
Medical Unit: 62-21-3435-9200
Political Section: 62-21-3435-9280
Economic Section: 62-21-3435-9072
Public Affairs Section: 62-21-3435-9500
Consulate Surabaya: https://id.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/surabaya/
Consulate Medan: https://id.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/medan/
Consular Agency Bali: https://id.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/consular-agency-bali/
Indonesia Country Information Sheet