Is It Safe For Americans To Travel To India?

credit: Peter Parker

Safety is a priceless concept that can make or break a memorable traveling experience. American travelers who want to explore India’s wealth of cultural treasures will appreciate all it offers! Before that, let’s explore facts and statistics to discover whether safety will be a concern in India.

India’s developed cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune are much safer for Americans to travel. India’s most common crimes are theft, rape, murder, and kidnapping, equaling 30% of all crimes. Some areas are rampant with terrorism, with ethnic and anti-government conflicts. 

How Safe Is It For Americans To Travel To India?

The US Department of State gives India a level 2 advisory, meaning that American travelers who wish to travel there should be cautious about the things they do and places they decide to visit.  

Some places in India are more dangerous while others are safer, like with other countries. For this reason, it’s wise for American travelers to know about the potential dangers so they can prepare beforehand.

Crime is more common in urban areas with more tourists because they usually carry things of value, like mobile phones, tablets, and wallets with cash. However, the major cities are safer than the rest of India because they are more developed. They include:

  • Kolkata – The capital of West Bengal and has been ranked the safest city in India by the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Hyderabad – An impressive technological hub, it has better infrastructure than most Indian cities.
  • Mumbai – India’s financial capital, and also where you’ll find Bollywood.
  • Pune – A hub of education and knowledge with a large student population.

Regardless, travelers should have their wits about them and avoid shady individuals who offer to take them somewhere or show them the best place to find something. Offenders historically view women as easier targets, so they should never walk alone, or they increase their risk of sexual assault and harassment.

When travelers go through busy streets or marketplaces, they should keep their belongings shut tight and close to them. Pickpockets, scammers, and con artists always seek an easy target.

Travelers should be vigilant of their surroundings and belongings, avoid traveling alone or at night, and only use reputable transportation services.

Which Areas In India Are The Safest For Americans?

Some areas in India are more dangerous because of a history of violent people groups, movements, and political conflicts. Let’s look at the areas that American tourists should avoid in India.

Jammu And Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir stand as a decade-long conflict between India and Pakistan and create an environment of civil unrest. Eastern Ladakh and its capital – Leh – is much safer and suitable for travelers to enjoy an immersive and rich cultural experience.

Violence and unrest are part of everyday life for some because of the cross-border and separatist movement conflicts. It’s a hotspot for trouble, and the US government has limited resources available to aid US citizens in this area.

Northeastern States

The northeastern states experience insurgencies, ethnic clashes, and violence from armed groups who wish to be independent from India. Like Jammu and Kashmir, if a US citizen ran into trouble in this area, getting them aid would be challenging because the US authorities are limited.

The northeastern states include the following places:

  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Sikkim
  • Tripura

Central India

Central India consists of a lot of political conflicts, particularly when it comes to Naxalism. These armed groups wish to establish a communist state and openly oppose the Indian government.

Their hostility extends to government officials, security forces, civilians, and infrastructure, having attacked the above numerous times.

It’s much safer for American tourists to stay clear of these areas, especially since the US has limited resources to aid citizens under threat. 

Central India includes the following regions:

  • Chhattisgarh
  • Jharkhand
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Odisha
  • Telangana

What Are The Risks Of Traveling To India?

Knowing what crimes to look out for can better prepare American tourists who want to explore all the beauty that India offers. Here are the most common crimes that tourists should know about:

High Violet Crime Rate

India’s violent crime rate is higher than most countries, including murder, kidnapping, robbery, and rape.

In 2021, there were about 6,096,310 crimes in India. This was less than the 6,601,285 crimes in 2020. The crime rate (crimes per 100,000 people) improved in 2021, dropping from 487.8 to 445.9 in 2020. However, it was still higher than the 385.5 in 2019.

Out of the 6,096,310 crimes in 2021, these were the main types of crimes:

  • Crimes that hurt people, such as murder, rape, or kidnapping. These made up 30% of all crimes.
  • Crimes that stole or damaged property, such as theft, burglary, or robbery. These made up 20.8% of all crimes.
  • Other crimes that broke the law, such as cheating, fraud, drugs, or riots. These made up 29.7% of all crimes.

The rates of some of the major crimes in 2021 were:

  • Murder – There were 2 murders for every 100,000 people. This was lower than most countries in Africa and America but higher than most in Asia and Europe.
  • Kidnapping – There were 7 kidnappings for every 100,000 people.
  • Rape – There were 5 rapes for every 100,000 people.


There are multiple terrorist groups in India vying for control of different facets of the country. They include:

  • Lashkar-e-Tayyiba
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed
  • Hizbul Mujahideen
  • ISIS
  • al-Qa’ida
  • Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen
  • Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh

They often attack public places, especially markets, buses, hotels, trains, religious structures, and important government buildings.

The most recent terrorist attacks include the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2016 Uri attack, the 2019 Pulwama attack, and the 2021 Jammu drone attack.

What Can Tourists Do To Improve Their Safety In India?

Apart from keeping a watchful eye and staying alert for red flags, there are things American tourists can do to improve their safety. For one, they can enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

It’s a free service that allows traveling or immigrating US citizens to register their trip with the nearest US  consulate or embassy. The benefits of registering for STEP are:

  • Travelers gain access to valuable information from the embassy about safety conditions in specific destinations. It can help them make a more informed decision and alter their travel plans accordingly.
  • The embassy can contact travelers in dire circumstances, such as civil unrest, natural disasters, or family emergencies.
  • The program allows friends and family back home to contact the traveling individuals via the US embassy.

Before travelers can use the program, they must create an account on the official STEP webpage. Once they finish entering their personal details and travel plans, the program will also be ready for any future travels!