crime in big cities and Europe

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Tue Jun 20 2000 - 00:06:16 MDT

John M Grigg writes:

> As I've said before, almost everyone I have known personally that
> has visited europe has been robbed at least once while they were
> there, they've had their hotel rooms robbed, their cars broken into or
> stolen, and bags snatched out of their hands.
Europe is a quite large, heterogenous place.

Blanket statements are less then helpful here. Clearly there is
criminal industry catering to the tourists (=easy pickuhns), but it
really depends on where you go. A touristy street in Mezzogiorno (or
parts of France?) is *not* a walled community near a police department
in the U.S., or, say rural South Carolina. Parts of Eastern Europe are
notorious (I think Prague can be nasty, let Robert tell about Moscow),
though, as usually, not being stupid really helps.

> The brazenness of theives in europe to me is incredible, and
> testament to the fact that they know there is little a person can do
> to defend themselves against robbery in europe. I've heard many

Of course you can, you can use mace and tasers, and just plain
physical force (also, it is always advisable to call for help,
*loudly*, especially if you're a woman). If you're travelling, it
really helps to know the basic survival vocabulary of the country
you're currently in. Notice that you will be very unlikely to
encounter firearms in the hands of thugs there (but do not
underestimate cold steel in the hands of a professional, or the
confusing aspects of a head concussion). I don't know whether ATM
robberies are really widespread in parts of Europe, but I really doubt
it. In any case, refuse to be whisked away even if you're facing a
firearm point blank, all the scary stuff happens elsewhere, where you
can't call for help, and the criminal has a lot more time. The latter
points are more or less universal, though probably more U.S.-centric.

> stories of women mugged and raped with bystanders just walking by,
> ignoring what went on. Non-gun crime is so prevalent I believe that
> most people there just don't see it, or refuse to see it.

I don't know, overwhelmingly most of Europe looks safer than urban
areas with a lot of gangbangers. Oh, yes, and be very careful when you
travel to Scandinavia. Extremely dangerous people up there, just look
at Anders.

> (end)

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