Is Prague a safe city to visit?
Prague is comparatively safe city; crimes of violence are very seldom. Prague is not more dangerous than any other European City. Statistically you are more likely to be robbed in a North American city than in Prague. Don’t be paranoid and just look after your belongings.
Crime rate is still low but common safety precautions should be taken as petty crime is on the increase in central areas. Don’t keep luggage and valuables visible in your car, you should even try and remove the CD player – even if it is a rented car. Don’t leave valuables (including your passport) in unattended hotel rooms, instead use hotel safe or even better not take them for your trip, unless you have to. The biggest danger for tourists is pick-pocketing. This is most common where large groups gather i.e. in crowded trams or busy tourist spots.
Be cautious when traveling on night trains (thieves love overnight trains), changing money (employees charging rip-off commissons), dealing with dishonest taxis, paying in restaurants and walking around through seedy local neighborhoods.
When travelling, it is useful to keep a photocopy of your passport and a note of your credit card number. This way if you are unlucky enough to loose or have these items stolen you will be able to get replacement travel documents and access to your money. According to Czech law you should have with you proof of identification at all times. In reality, police very rarely ask people for identification. If you been robbed or are the victim of any crime you should immediately report it to the police. Most police attendants won’t speak English but they should contact interpreter. Usually you will need a police report to claim insurance.
We recommend that if it is not necessary then don’t go into the main stations, Hlavni nadrazi and Nadrazi Holesovice, and the neighbouring park at night. Locals call this area ‘sherwood’ as many unemployed and homeless peoples hang around there. Otherwise Prague is quite safe even in the night. It would be very unusual, except pickpockets, that you will be targeted for any kind of crime, especially because you’re a tourist.
You may be shocked that Czechs have prejudice directed against the Roma population, whom people are quick to blame for the city’s problems. Though racism towards visitors is very rare, though there have been some assaults by skinheads on dark-skinned people.
Solo Women Travellers
Walking alone on the street is generally safe even for a solo woman. Just try to avoid area around the intersection of Wenceslas Square and Na Příkopě after dark, unless you like a red-light district. Prague has developed a burgeoning sex industry, with strip clubs, lap dancing clubs and brothels. Many street prostitutes gather here at night too. Quite often you can see here many British stag parties stumbling drunkenly through those streets.
Emergency free phone numbers
150 – Fire Fighters
155 – Medical Emergency
156 – City Police
158 – Police
On these Numbers operators speak mostly Czech language only – better to ask anybody to explain your problem instead of you than to call directly.
112 – Unified European Emergency Call (operator speaks Czech, English, German)
Watch out for pickpockets
Pickpockets in Prague are very skilful. They usually act in a group and target trams, metros and other crowded places. Be particularly careful on trams 14, 17, 22 and 23. They are more frequent during public holidays and Christmas season.
Dishonest taxi drivers
When eating in restaurants you should check your bill, as many restaurants try wrongly counting it (but this is now getting better, only in cheaper places this could be happening).
You should keep copies of your insurance policy, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in a safe place.
Is safe to drink water from a tap? The water supply in Prague is of a good quality. It is generally considered very safe to drink water from the tap but heavily chlorinated so it can have a metallic taste. Bottled water is available everywhere.
There is no other health threat when travelling to Prague. If you need drugs go to Pharmacies (lékárna), the only places to sell over-the-counter medicines. They also dispense many drugs normally available only by prescription.
- Don’t carry large amount of cash.
- When you’re going to a place, where you know you can pay with a credit card, take one and limit the cash.
- Try not to show how much money you have in your wallet.
- Never leave your wallet lying free on a table or anywhere else. Best to keep it is in a closed pocket. Those secret pockets like I have seen once (in underpants or a bra) are maybe a little exaggerated.
- If you know a little Czech don’t worry to ask more times when you don’t understand the exact sum at the counter. And if you don’t, try to pretend you do.
- If you go through or to an especially dangerous place divide your money into two halves and store them in two different places. Then if you are mugged there is a chance that the second half will pass unnoticed.
State police in Czech Republic are responsible for day-to-day policing. They wear white shirts and dark-grey trousers or skirts (always armed). Municipal police wear light-grey trousers or skirts. Traffic police are responsible for all road and traffic regulations. They may check your documents; for that reason always carry your driver’s licence and passport as well as your car documents. This police force also controls fines for parking and clamping infringements. In case you are involved in a traffic accident you must inform the police before moving your vehicle.
After 10pm some tourist areas are lined with callgirls happy to see you. Although prostitution is illegal, the local police turn blind eye. Do not pickup any girls from the streets especially if they are not Czechs, it can be very dangerous. You could end up without any money and maybe with some disease.
Despite all these frightening advises the crime in Prague is no worse than in any other big city.