Prague is quite a safe city where violent crime is rare, though petty crime is quite a bit of a problem. So for visitors pick-pocketing and car theft are the worst dangers. To avoid an unpleasant experience we advice you watch your bag in tourist areas, and on the metro and trams. Never leave valuables in your car. At night it is better to walk in well-lit streets and avoid the park in front of the main train station, though you should not encounter any problems. Tap water is safe to drink but is heavily chlorinated. In the Czech Republic smoking is prohibited at schools, cinemas, theatres, sports facilities, state offices and other public places such as bus and tram stops. For example, if you smoke at a tram or bus stop you can be fined (a 1,000-CZK fine). Another danger for visitors might be swindles, but you will be happy to know there is a way to protect yourself. Common problems are when a waiter puts an extra charge on your bill, a taxi driver adjusts his meter so you pay a little bit more than the official fare, an exchange office charges a rip-off 10% commission or a hotel calls its contracted taxi and charges you a very high amount. In such situations contact the Czech Retail Inspection Office. They may not be able to help in your individual case but they can send out inspectors and prevent it happening to others. In all cases keep the receipt or note and the details of the company involved when lodging a complaint. If you commit any offence and the police or transport inspector fines you, always ask for a receipt! Sometimes tourists can be targeted by prostitutes around Wenceslas Square, especially after dark.
Prostitution: Prostitution is not prohibited in the Czech Rep. Although, officially, it doesn’t function as a legitimate industry. Prostitutes don’t pay any tax and the business is not state regulated. The risk to the customer’s health can be extremely high, particularly in the cheaper brothels or on the streets. There have also been instances of prostitutes giving drinks spiked with sleeping pills to their punters and robbing them of everything. Always make note of the prostitute’s age because paying someone who is under eighteen for sexual services is illegal (in other cases, fifteen is the age of consent).
Drinking: Never leave drinks or food unattended, or accept drinks from strangers, however attractive the offer might seem. There have been a small number of incidents involving drinks being spiked and visitors having their valuables stolen whilst intoxicated.
Marijuana: Marijuana is forbidden in the Czech Rep, although it is widely used – particularly amongst younger people. Should the police notice you smoking, or in possession of, marijuana always be very courteous to them. This is because, in Czech law, being in possession of a ‘larger than small’ (i.e. greater than 15g) quantity of marijuana is grounds for prosecution.
Driving: Driving is very risky, and it is responsible for nearly one hundred and eighteen fatalities annually for every million citizens. Badly maintained roads, the non-existence of any reliable infrastructure, erratic place marks and a combination of both old model to late model cars is what causes driving to be a life threatening activity.
112 – General emergency number (similar to 911 in the US). Operators speak English and German. This can be used for any emergency situation (police, fire brigade, or emergency medical assistance, report road accident).
150 – Fire brigade
155 – Medical emergency (ambulance/first aid)
156 – Prague City police
158 – Police.
These numbers can be called free of charge from mobiles even without a SIM card inserted.