Crime Information for Tourists in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic generally has a low crime rate. However, pick-pocketing is a problem, especially in major tourist areas in Prague. Travelers are at a particularly high risk when:

On public transportation (trains, trams or the Prague metro);
In the city center;
In crowded areas; and
Eating at outdoor cafes.

As criminals may operate in groups, and could conceivably be armed with simple weapons, victims should avoid direct confrontation with potential criminals. Pick-pocketing rings in the Czech Republic tend to be professional and highly organized.

Keep a copy of your passport biodata page (and any pages with valid visas) in a safe place separate from the passport itself; this can help you to apply for a new passport if yours is lost or stolen. Under Czech law, you must verify your identity by presenting a travel document, a residence permit card, or an identity card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, if asked by Czech police. If you are a tourist, this means that you are expected to carry your passport with you. Please ensure the security of your passport while traveling to prevent incidents of pick-pocketing or theft. If you cannot produce your passport upon request, an immediate on-the-spot fine may be levied. Laws against traffic violations by pedestrians, such as jaywalking, are also frequently enforced in the Prague city center, and a fine will also be applied.

Incidents of violent crime, while still relatively infrequent, are possible. U.S. citizens have reported incidents of sexual assault in recent years. You should be aware of the reported use of rohypnol and other “date rape” drugs in the Czech Republic. Use caution when accepting open drinks at bars or clubs, and don’t leave your drinks unattended.

You should only change money at banks or legitimate money kiosks. An offer to change money by an unknown person on the street is most likely a scam. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout major cities in the Czech Republic. Most Czech ATMs offer instructions in multiple languages and allow access to U.S. bank accounts.

The press has reported that criminal organizations are illegally obtaining users’ ATM card numbers and PIN codes by electronically “skimming” the information from victims’ cards at ATMs. This activity has reportedly occurred at ATMs in public areas--even bank lobbies covered by security cameras. Visitors requiring ATM services should attempt to use machines at more secure or heavily traveled and monitored locations, such as commercial banks, large hotels, and the airport.

U.S. citizens have reported being overcharged by merchants on credit card transactions. While visiting the Czech Republic, you should carefully verify that charges are correct before signing for purchases, keep all receipts, and check your credit card accounts online to ensure that you are billed properly for credit card payments.

Auto thefts and break-ins are common in the Czech Republic, especially in major cities. To avoid vehicle-related crimes, you should use parking garages and anti-theft devices. You should also not leave valuables in plain sight inside vehicles, as this increases the possibility of theft.

Czech bars and dance clubs are generally safe. However, as with many cities, you may be approached to purchase illicit drugs; this is against the law in the Czech Republic. Be mindful that security at nightclubs could respond more forcefully than at similar venues in the United States. Be aware that casinos and gaming establishments are government-regulated, but some have been affiliated with, or attracted the interest of, organized crime.

Taxis: You should be alert to the potential for substantial overcharging by taxis, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. Some taxi drivers charge unsuspecting foreigners two or three times the standard rate. To minimize the possibility of being overcharged, you should obtain a price estimate in advance and ensure that the driver is using the meter.

The Embassy has also received limited reports of passengers being assaulted or robbed by taxi drivers after hailing a random cab on the street. We strongly recommend that you call for a taxi, rather than hail one on the street. If calling is not possible, visitors should obtain a taxi at one of the clearly marked “Fair Place” taxi stands, which are regulated by the Prague city government. All taxis should be clearly marked.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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