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Safety and Emergencies for Expats in Malta

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: November 2013


Malta is in the enviable position of being one of the safest countries in the world. Regarding natural disasters, Malta was assessed as the second safest country on earth in the UN World Risk Report of 2012, with a risk of natural disaster of only 0.72%. There have been no natural disasters on the islands in the past three decades.

The threat from terrorism is low. Nevertheless, as always, it is prudent to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. The chances of experiencing unrest in Malta are very low indeed.

Summer can be very hot, and there is a risk of heat exhaustion and stroke. To avoid these conditions, it is important to make sure you drink enough water and wear loose, lightweight clothing. Above all, try to arrange your day so you are out of the sun between 11:00 and 18:00 when it is especially hot, and take breaks in cooler places whenever possible.

Though swimming is generally safe, you should observe the standard precautions of checking for safety flags and the prevailing weather. It is not recommended that you drink the local tap water, so you will need to stock up on bottled water.

Malta’s crime rate is generally very low, though it has increased in the last decade, and it is somewhat higher in the inner Harbour area, particularly in St Julian’s. Violent crime is very rare, and in most parts of the country you are very unlikely to experience any trouble. Walking the streets is mostly safe day and night.

Nevertheless, you may be unlucky enough to become a victim, as petty crime can still be problematic, especially in the busier cities. Types of petty theft that can be a problem  include bag snatching, pick-pocketing and theft from cars. Robbery is also a possibility, for example after you have used a cashpoint. You are most likely to be pick-pocketed or fall victim to other forms of theft in crowded areas and on public transport. This is currently especially true on crowded buses such as the numbers 12 and 13 buses running in the Harbour Area.

Theft prevention is about being aware of what is going on around you and keeping your belongings safe at all times. You can help reduce the chances of theft by keeping items such as mobile phones and laptops out of sight as much as possible.

Scams are also a problem and can be real-life or online. Bear in mind at all times that, if someone approaches you unbidden and makes an offer that seems too good to be true, it usually is. In Malta, many of these scams originate from West Africa.

Malta is generally safe for women, as the incidence of sexual assaults is very low.


The emergency number that can be used in Malta is 112. This is the number you should dial for the police, a medical emergency and the fire brigade. This number works from a landline, payphone or mobile phone – even one without a SIM card. The emergency operator will answer in Maltese or English.

Emergency Service



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Everywhere in Malta




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