Delhi is largely a safe city. Expats will find that most people are open and welcoming. Violent crime directed against foreigners has traditionally been uncommon. However, theft (including pickpocketing) is fairly common, and expats are often targeted for small scams.Some of the hazards expats might encounter are:
- Petty crime, theft of personal property, particularly on trains or buses.
- Pickpockets can be very adept at flicking wallets/chains/watches that you will not notice anything amiss until after a long while. Be proactive; do not give in to any person wanting to guide you around.
- Passport theft, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight trains, and at airports.
- Major airports, train stations and tourist sites are often used by scam artists looking to prey on visitors. Taxi drivers may solicit travelers with offers of cheap transportation and/or hotels. The meter might be rigged to overcharge you.
- Delhi drivers can be quite reckless, and drunk driving is common. Traffic rules are also less enforced than in most places, and it’s common for people jump red lights or even drive on the wrong side of the street (in India, you drive on the left).
Delhi Police Department offers the following safety tips for tourists in Delhi, http://www.delhitrafficpolice.nic.in/guidelines-for-visitors.htm. Expats can emulate some of these to make their stay in Delhi pleasant and safe.
Safety for Women
Western women may encounter sexual harassment, known as ‘Eve-teasing’, by men. Among large cities in India, Delhi probably has the highest number of crimes against women. Unfortunately, there have been recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas.
When it comes to expectations about how women should dress and even behave, Delhi is a fairly conservative city, especially by Western standards. If you are going out to a posh nightclub, wear whatever you please, but for day-to-day life, it’s better not to wear skirts too far above the knee, unless you don’t mind being ogled. In more upscale neighbourhoods, where most expats live, you have more choice for outfits, but in areas where people may be less exposed to foreigners, you may want to avoid exposing your legs or upper arms all together. In some circles, it’s common to hug or kiss a friend of the opposite sex on the cheek, but handshakes are more appropriate with the vast majority of Indians, and always in a business situation. Women should avoid walking alone late at night, even in their own neighbourhoods.