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Bratislava: Safety Tips

A member of the Bratislava City Police

Bratislava is generally a safe city to visit and most visitors will experience a trouble-free holiday. However, it is wise to be careful of personal possessions, particularly in popular tourist areas and on public transport, due to increasing incidents of pick-pocketing and bag snatching.

Do not leave precious things in a car. Even very popular parking sites can not be considered safe your possession inside the car.

There are some useful notices from the report of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (a U.S. Government inter-agency Web site managed by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State): The local pickpockets are professional and most active during the summer months. They tend to utilize distraction techniques to confuse their target, and prefer crowded locations such as shopping centers, tourist sites, markets, public transportation, hotels popular with foreigners, and on the night trains to Prague and Warsaw.

The rate of automobile theft, which is also connected to organized crime, is very high in Bratislava. Many stolen vehicles are quickly transported out of the country for resale in neighboring countries. Preferred targets for the auto thief are high-end European and American vehicles. The use of a car alarm system or anti-theft device is strongly encouraged.

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

The crimes most often reported to the Regional Security Officer involve petty theft, such as bags being snatched, cellular telephones being stolen, and pocket picking. The individuals most often targeted in these types of crimes are newly-arrived personnel and tourists who are unfamiliar with the local environment who do not pay attention to their surroundings. A traveler can minimize the chances of becoming a victim by taking the basic, yet necessary personal security precautions that one would take in any congested urban environment, including increasing public awareness of one’s surroundings and properly securing valuables on their person or in a hotel room.

Most reports are generated in Old Town Bratislava, the historic district that is lined with cobblestone streets and numerous outdoor cafes. The congregation of tourists in this area leads to the influx of criminal elements eager to separate visitors from their valuables. Travelers should minimize the amount of valuables and money they carry.

What to Do if the Loss or Theft Occurred

Report it to the police immediately. You can call the police hotline on 158 or 112 for foreigners.

Number 112 covers integrated emergency services (some operators speak English, they will put you through to the police, ambulance or the fire department as required).

Number 159 is for city police, mainly dealing with minor public order and parking violations.

Calls are free of charge from a mobile phone or any phone booth.

February 28, 2012   
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