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Is Serbia a Safe or Dangerous Country?The most common concern for newcomers is pickpockets. Any other issues are not likely to happen. However, the crime rate is high. First of all, it is so, due to the high activity of organized crime groups, which are in a constant fight for control over territories and areas of influence which results in many acts of violence. So, there is a potential risk of collateral damage of these attacks. Serbia is widely known for its vibrant nightlife. Many bars, clubs and so-called “splav” (floating discos) are controlled and owned by the Balkan criminal organizations. These are the names of those places that have been marked off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel: Mr. Stefan Braun, Splav Slep, Plastic. In those kind of places, confrontation usually ends-up in violent assaults. SafeAround advises to avoid visiting these places. When attending sporting events particularly football, one should be especially cautious. Fans often referred as “hooligans”, are often widely connected to criminal groups and ultra-nationalist organizations. In the past few years, there have been cases of foreign fans being assaulted. Tourists should be cautious while attending soccer matches, in the proximity of the stadiums and football bars at the time of the games. Particularly between the local rivals: “Red Star”, Rad and Partizan. The most common type of street crime is pickpocketing. All tourist areas in Belgrade are widely affected, especially: “Knez Mihailova” – main pedestrian street in Belgrade, as well as the public transport system. Distraction is usually used in order to commit a crime. Don’t be an unsuspecting victim, pay attention to your surroundings and try to keep a part of your valuables at the hotel in a safe deposit box.
Other areas of concern:
- Vehicle theft is a problem. When renting a car, try to avoid renting the cars of the following car manufacturers which are the most theft prone: Volkswagen, Opel. They are the most targeted cars throughout Serbia. Never leave any valuables in plain sight in the vehicle.
- Due to high transit flow of refugees through Belgrade, altercations between migrants can happen, cases of stabbing are known. If possible, try to stay away from any suspicious activity.
- Unexploded mines from the 1990s Balkan conflict may be an issue. Stay on established grounds in the areas that were part of the conflict.
- A high rate of corruption. Bribery is common in the healthcare system and in the political system. Generally, tourists are not likely to encounter this dark part of Serbia.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Serbia is a very safe country. It is ranked 35th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are the main crimes in Belgrade, especially in tourist areas in the capital and big transportation hubs.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Abductions have declined significantly in recent years; kidnapping of family members for failure to repay debts does occur, as does kidnapping by rival criminal organizations. Mugging is rare but still, exists.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
The most common scams are ripping off in the bars and drink spiking in the strip clubs.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Overall, transportation in Serbia is safe. There are known reports on overcharging in taxi persons who are not familiar with the vicinity.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Severe floodings can happen. Belgrade stands in the seismically active area. (Level 2a)
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Terrorist attacks have happened in London, Paris, St. Petersburg. The threat of terrorist attacks exists but is relatively low. Be vigilant to possible threats.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Serbia is very safe for women travelers. Assaults are rare and almost don’t exist, though always best to stay aware of your surroundings.