Santiago is a fairly safe destination and crime is not really a great concern. Being a big metropolis, however, does carry its occupational hazards and the city is of course not free of petty crime. Common sense, however, goes a long way. Don’t flash expensive jewellery while you’re out in busy streets, avoid large crowds, don’t leave your bags unattended and keep cameras or mobile phones away from sight. As Santiaguinos tend to dress quite conservatively in central and business areas, avoiding the conspicuous ‘tourist look’ (short trousers, hiking gear,rucksacks, cameras or sunglasses dangling from your neck… you get the idea) will also help.
Although violent crime is rare, muggings occasionally take place. Cash machines tend to be inside banks or shops, so they are broadly safe, but you should always be mindful of who’s around you. Incidents in taxi cabs are virtually unheard of.
Most areas of the capital pose no particular risk to personal safety, but it’s important never to fall into a false sense of security. Pickpocketing and bag snatching can happen anywhere, especially as a tourist. Central Santiago is usually safe during the day, but you should be watchful at night time. Pickpockets are known to operate any time of the day in and around commercial areas, predominantly in the run-up to Christmas. Barrio Brasil and Barrio Bellavista can occasionally turn a little rough in the late hours, so exercise caution. Barrio Lastarria and areas of Santiago Oriente are mostly safe after dusk. Women on their own at night should, as they would anywhere, be very vigilant.
Slums in the capital are fewer than you’d expect, and only a handful of them can be identified as no-go areas. Deprivation exists in parts of the suburbs, especially in the far north and far south. Certain areas of the central-southwest, like Villa Francia, or of the north around El Salto and in the south such as La Pintana have a potential for street violence, particularly at night. These are best avoided altogether.
Demonstrations in and around central Santiago are common. Though most of them are peaceful, some can sporadically turn violent. Dates such as 29 March and 11 September are commemorative of events linked to the dictatorship of General Pinochet, and protests have often turned violent in the past.
The risk of terrorism in Santiago is low. You are recommended to check local news reports regularly as well as the updated travel advice issued by your government.