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The Indonesian political climate has made the area somewhat of a security threat in recent years. There is often civil unrest, so avoid political demonstrations and protests. There is also a large amount of suspected terrorist activity in the area, so Western travelers should be extremely vigilant. Places frequented by Westerners are often targets for terrorism; these include airports, international hotels, embassies and Western business locations.
Due to a corrupt and inefficient legal system, there has developed a culture of ‘street justice’. Crowds gather quickly around small public disturbances and violence breaks out easily. In some villages, thieves that are caught by mobs are burned alive. It is best to avoid crowds on the streets; though they may be a little tamer than in smaller cities, violence is still a problem in the Indonesian capital.
Exercise caution and common sense at all times during your stay in Jakarta. To avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers, always insist on using the meter rather than bargaining for a rate and do not use brokers who offer to negotiate transportation services for you. Preferably, use the "Silver Bird" taxi, which can be organised by your hotel before you arrive in Indonesia. Also check that the door can be opened from the inside and sit in the back rather than next to the driver. When walking on the streets, avoid wearing a lot of jewelry or displaying large amounts of cash and keep a firm grip on purses and bags.
Besides civil unrest, terrorism and petty crime, the archipelago nation is also subject to natural disaster. A large earthquake and tsunami hit the area in December 2004 and another earthquake hit the village of Yogyakarta in May 2006. The volcano of Mt. Merapi on Java is also quite active, and an explosion may be imminent, so be prepared for quick evacuations.
Travellers must also be vigilant when going into bars and clubs, because locals gather in some establishments, just to find an easy and willing target.