Cablegate: Osac/Crime Safety Report for Morocco


DE RUEHRB #1852/01 3520924
R 180924Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 06 STATE 199547

1. (U) The following information is keyed to requirements
posed in reftel.

I. CRIME/SAFETY: Though crime has generally not posed a
significant risk to visitors in terms of personal safety, it
is necessary to take prudent security precautions appropriate
for any major American city. The U.S. Mission has noticed an
increase in crime throughout Morocco. Most criminal
incidents perpetrated against visitors are
non-confrontational, although violent crimes occur.
Pick-pocketing and purse/valuable snatching remain the most
reported type of incident, generally occurring in crowded
city centers, medinas, or high volume pedestrian streets.
Theft of items from occupied vehicles occurring at traffic
lights or while stopped in heavy traffic appears also to be
on the rise. However, there are indications, particularly in
larger cities, that criminals are becoming more brazen and
willing to confront victims or use weapons. Some of these
incidents have occurred in broad daylight in the nicer
neighborhoods in Casablanca and Rabat. Though the use of
firearms is rare, street robberies, generally carried out at
night, are being reported more frequently. In some cases,
the perpetrator has brandished a knife or bladed instrument
to ensure quick compliance. While some of these acts are
random, police have arrested organized groups carrying out
more sophisticated targeting of individuals, homes or

Morocco experiences a high number of traffic accidents and
fatalities every year due to both road conditions and driving
habits. Though there is a major effort underway to enforce
speed limits and rules of the road, it remains an area where
visitors should exercise great care. Police have established
a number of checkpoints in an effort to validate driving
permits and the safety condition of vehicles. If pulled over
for a traffic violation, the driver must be able to provide a
passport and/or international driver's license. Confiscation
of the driver's license is possible if the violator is unable
or unwilling to settle the fine at the time of the traffic
stop. Taxi and bus drivers, particularly those transporting
multiple persons between cities, may operate poorly
maintained and overcrowded vehicles in a reckless manner.

there were a series of terrorist bombings in Casablanca. In
August a suicide bomber targeted a tourist bus unsuccessfully
in Meknes. The potential for terrorist violence against
American interests and citizens remains high in Morocco.
There is draft GOM legislation that has earmarked 30 per cent
of the State's 2008 budget for security. Moroccan security
services continue to disrupt terrorist cells throughout
Morocco. The terrorist groups arrested over the past several
years have generally been associated with radical Islamic
extremism, and some have been associated with regional and
international terrorist groups. Moroccans who have emigrated
have been implicated in terrorist attacks abroad, such as the
Madrid train bombings. Additionally, issues such as U.S.
Middle East policy and the war in Iraq have on occasion
generated large public protests. Politically inspired
protests are more likely to occur in the city center or near
Moroccan government or internationally-affiliated facilities.
For the most part, these gatherings have remained peaceful
and well-controlled and groups are not normally allowed to
congregate in the vicinity of diplomatic facilities. Groups
are required to obtain government approval prior to holding
any public rally, march or protest. A spontaneous or
non-approved demonstration may pose greater potential for
political violence than those that are approved beforehand
that allow police to set parameters and maintain control.
Clashes have occurred at universities between factions over
the status of the Western Sahara, which remains a politically
charged regional issue.

III. POST-SPECIFIC CONCERNS: Visitors traveling to Morocco
on business should be aware that English is not widely spoken
and that most business transactions are normally conducted in
French, although Arabic is the most widely spoken language in
Morocco. Since Morocco is an Islamic country, it is also
beneficial and recommended for visitors to be aware of
cultural sensitivities associated with Islam.

During the rainy season, from November to March, flash
flooding can impact Morocco's many rural mountainous roads
and pose a threat to travelers as flooding can quickly wash
away a road.

IV. POLICE RESPONSE: The Moroccan police force is patterned
on the French system, with the Surete National enforcing law
in the urban areas, and the Gendarmerie in the rural areas.
Moroccan law enforcement officers are relatively well
trained, and law enforcement officials have pursued
additional training and expertise through international
exchanges and training assistance programs. The Moroccan
police generally respond effectively to a report of crime by
a foreigner visiting the country. Quick investigative
reaction to a criminal complaint by a visitor has at times
resulted in an immediate arrest. It is important therefore
to report any incident quickly to the police. Moroccan
police normally conduct business in either French or Arabic.
English translation may not be immediately available. Should
an American visitor require additional assistance, s/he
should contact American Citizens Services at the U.S.
Consulate in Casablanca.

V. MEDICAL EMERGENCIES: Adequate medical care is available
in Morocco's largest cities, particularly in Rabat and
Casablanca, although not all facilities are of the highest
quality. Specialized care or treatment may not be available.
Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters,
particularly in the urban areas, but most medical staff will
have limited or no English skills. Most ordinary
prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely
available. However, specialized prescriptions may be
difficult to fill and availability of medicines in rural
areas is unreliable. Emergency and specialized care outside
the major cities is far below U.S. standards, and in many
instances may not be available at all. In the event of car
accidents involving injuries, immediate ambulance service
usually is not available. The numbers below represent a
sample of medical services available and should not be
interpreted as necessarily recommended by the U.S. Embassy or

Police Emergency Service - 190
Fire Department/Emergency Ambulance - 150

Private Ambulance Service - 037-72-72-72 (Rabat),
022-25-25-25 (Casablanca)

Air Ambulance Service (Rota, Spain) 0034-56-82-3555

Private Clinics and Hospitals:
Agdal Clinic (Rabat) 037-77-77-77
Nations Unies Clinic (Rabat) 037-67-05-05
Dar Assalam Clinic (Casablanca) 022-85-14-14
Zerktouni Clinic (Casablanca) 022-25-33-00
Polyclinic du Sud (Marrakech) 024-44-79-99 or 061-24-06-78
Assalam Clinic (Tangier) 039-32-25-58

informed, understanding the culture, applying good common
sense and practicing sound personal security measures can go
a long way in ensuring an incident-free visit to Morocco.
Thieves generally scan for easy targets of opportunity;
therefore, visitors should avoid drawing undue attention by
wearing expensive jewelry, outlandish or descriptive clothing
items, or generally appearing unfamiliar with the
environment. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it
probably is. When unfamiliar with an area (particularly at
night), it is advisable to utilize the &petit taxi8 service
available in all large cities. When driving, windows should
be rolled up with doors locked, and it is against the law to
drive while talking on a cell phone. Train travel in Morocco
is considered safe and reliable. Establishments that could
be perceived as catering to U.S or western interests, such as
hotels, clubs, restaurants and movie theaters, could be
potential targets for terrorism. Travelers should remain
particularly alert and informed during periods of heightened
tension in the country or region. The Regional Security
Office in Rabat or Casablanca remains the best source of
information for the latest on the security situation.

Information Sheet at Travel.State.Gov for additional travel
information as well as the latest travel warnings and public
announcements regarding the security/safety situation in the
country or region.

U.S. Embassy - 037-76-22-65
U.S. Embassy (after-hours) - 037-76-96-39
U.S. Consulate General Casablanca - 022-26-45-50
U.S. Consulate General American Citizen Services -

When dialing Morocco from the U.S. dial the country code 212
and drop the first 0 of the number.

Regional Security Officer Rabat: George G. Frederick
Assistant Regional Security Officer Rabat: Theodore O. Holmes
Regional Security Officer Casablanca: Yvon Guillaume
Chief, Consular Section: Miguel Ordonez
Commercial Officer: Rick Ortiz.

Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;


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