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Like many European countries, Slovakia has issues with petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse snatching. Take the usual common-sense precautions such as keeping your valuables locked at your accommodation, only carrying the money you need for the day, and keeping your bag or purse in sight at all times.
Here's how to avoid any trouble in Slovakia.
Pickpockets operate in crowded tourist areas, and focus on distracted tourists. Be especially wary in popular visitor sights, on public buses, trams, or trains.
Thieves often work in teams; one will distract the victim while the other snatches the goods and hands it off to a swift accomplice. Likewise, a group of children might divert your attention by begging or with cute antics, while another fishes your pockets. This happens in a matter of seconds.
Campsites can also be places of theft. The Zlaty Piesky area has been known to house a robber or two. Err on caution when leaving valuables in your tent.
As you would with any flight, always put your valuables in your carry-on luggage.
Going out for a night on the town carries its own safety issues. There have been a few reports of drink spikings, with the victims waking up several hours later with their pockets emptied. Don't be paranoid, but exercise sober judgment when accepting drinks from people you don't know. Better yet, go with your new friend to the bar and watch the drinks being made.
Slovakian bouncers are notorious for being big and rough. They don't waste time with courtesies and will settle boisterous behavior with a heavy hand. Some of them carry firearms. The bar is not a place to assert yourself. Bouncers don't care about your dignity. If you get into a bind with one, calm down, lower your head, and walk away. By no means argue or show any kind of defiance.
There are some dodgy taxi drivers that might try to rip you off by adding an imaginary surcharge to the metered value, which might be described as a dumb tourist tax. Others might not run the meter at all and dream up an exorbitant fare at the end of the journey. Don't fall for either. Insist on them using the meter and only pay the fare shown on it. Ask the driver what the expected fare would be – of course depending on traffic.
Car break-ins are not uncommon, and thieves might smash your windows whether or not valuables are in plain view. Better to take everything you don't want to lose with you, or hide any belongings so they aren't in plain sight.
If you're driving a car with a foreign license plate, you might be a target of theft. There have been a few cases where someone was fixing a flat tire and robbers helped themselves while the driver was busy. Lock the car before sorting out any such problem.
Unfortunately, there is an ongoing issue with discrimination against Roma people. Roma children are segregated in school and do not receive the same level of education as other Slovakian children. While this may not affect most travelers, it's important to be aware of social issues in the country.
Pickpockets operate around the popular Christmas markets and in bars, and foreigners are easily identified and targeted.
There has been an increase in reports of thefts from visitors in nightclubs and, strip clubs around the old town pedestrian area in Bratislava.
There have been reports of overcharging for drinks or fraudulent transactions debited against bank cards. Always check prices against the menu, watch the transaction being completed, and avoid requests to reenter your PIN. If a transaction is declined, ask to see the receipt.
Report any crimes to local police and get a report to help you with any insurance claims.
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