Scams in Latvia

Warnings and dangers

Latvia is a safe country.

Crime levels in Latvia are relatively small. The murder rate is on par with the USA. However, crime is spread much more evenly in Latvia than in the West, meaning there is no division into “dangerous ghettos” and “suburbs where nothing bad ever happens”. Instead, all the areas are safe if taking the usual precautions such as not leaving bags openly in cars.

No natural disasters have ever happened in Latvia, as it is well beyond the danger zone for earthquakes, tornadoes or volcanoes. However, the few coldest weeks of the year sometimes take its toll among the homeless. With good clothing and ability to spend nights inside there is no danger even during harshest of winters.

The biggest historic danger to Latvia came from its aggressive neighbors which have murdered hundreds of thousands of locals over the course of 20th century. Most Latvians still feel a danger that Russia could reoccupy their land, possibly launching a campaign of looting and killing. However, the probability that this would happen at any given time is low, especially as Russia is now pre-occupied with wars elsewhere.

Small immigration from war zones means that terrorism danger is extremely low. No people have died in terrorist bombings throughout the Latvian history.

There may be scams in Latvian nightclubs and taxis. However, Latvian people are quite reserved and don’t come to solicit, so it is possible to avoid the scams by avoiding services where they are more common. Public transport or rental car may be preferable to taxi.