Tips on Staying Safe in Prague

Prague welcomes millions of travelers from all over the world every year. As the tourists stream in, others flourish. Among them, the pickpockets, thieves, and con artists.


Useful phone numbers (free of charge)
Czech police: 158
Czech city police: 156
European emergency phone number: 112


Pickpockets

A sign on the Prague subway in 2012Pickpocketing is one of Prague's most common crimes. We are sad every time we hear stories about someone getting their money, documents, camera or cell phone stolen.

First of all, we have two rather contradictory pieces of advice for you:

1) Don't underestimate Prague pickpockets. Many of them are skilled "professionals".

2) Don't be paranoid. Make sure you are still enjoying yourself on your trip. Although pickpocketing has been a problem in Prague, just like it is a problem in many tourist destinations around the world, thieves are not waiting for you at every corner. We have been robbed in other European cities, but never in Prague - knock on wood.

Czech police probably won't be able to do much to help you if you're robbed, so prevention is your best protection. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming the victim of a pickpocket:

Don't carry large amounts of cash with you. Carry a credit card and take money out of an ATM as you go. ATMs are plentiful in Prague and their screens come with an English language version.

Leave important documents at your hotel. You should carry your passport with you, but leave a copy of it at your hotel in case the original gets lost. Making copies of your important documents is always a good idea when traveling.

Be careful on crowded trams (especially tram 22) and subways, mainly in the historical center of Prague. Know what's happening around you and try not to find yourself squeezed in a crowd of other passengers with your wallet or phone accessible.

Keep money and your passport in a money belt instead of a handbag or backpack. Although it can be a bit of a nuisance, we have found it to be a very secure place to keep our valuables when traveling.

• If you are carrying a handbag or backpack, always be aware of it. Keep it closed up and pay attention to it in busy areas.

• Don't take out your wallet or money in busy areas.

Don't change money on the street or in small money changing offices. There are plenty of banks to choose from - or get Czech crowns out of an ATM.

• Be especially careful in very touristy areas: on Karlova and Melantrichova Streets, on the Charles Bridge, on Old Town Square, on tram 22, and in busy stores.



Car Break-Ins and Car Theft

Car break-ins are another common type of property crime in Prague. The advice here is simple: never leave valuables in your car. Car theft has also been a problem in the Czech Republic although the situation has gotten better in recent years. To prevent your car from being stolen or broken into, park in a parking garage instead of leaving your car on the street.


Unsafe Areas

Prague Train StationAside from property crime, Prague is a relatively safe city. The rate of violent crime is low and most areas of Prague are safe to walk around even after dark.

Be careful on Wenceslas Square. It is usually packed with tourists and the crowds make things easy for pickpockets. There have also been cases of trusting "love-seekers" being robbed of all their money at night.

The park around the main train station (referred to by the locals as "Sherwood") is not a place to be at night. It is a popular hangout of the homeless and drug addicts who beg for money and can be pushy about it. If you need to get to or from the train station at night, take the metro (the station is inside the building) rather than the tram (you have to walk through the park to get to/from the tram stop).


To find out more about what not to do and what to avoid in the Czech Republic, visit Travelscams.org, a community project that consolidates tourist targeted scams, crime and key safety issues globally.