Overall, Greece is a very safe place to travel. Aside from pickpockets (especially during summer), there's not much you need to worry about.
Greeks will tell you it's not in their nature to stand by while someone is robbed or assaulted, and it's in their best interest to protect visitors; tourism was responsible for 25% of GDP in Greece in 2017, and one in five jobs are within the tourism industry.
That doesn't mean Greece is crime-free – pickpockets and petty thieves will always gather at places where visitors congregate. Here are a few important things you need to know about taxis, pickpockets and personal safety advice before you travel to Greece.
Greeks will be the first to tell you that the worst petty criminals are taxi drivers. This is more of an annoyance than a safety issue, but arguments between reluctant passengers and insistent drivers have been known to get ugly.
The authorities have belatedly recognized this problem, and have ordered a police crackdown on dodgy drivers.
If you think the taxi driver is trying to rip you off, get the police involved, or ask the hotel doorman to call them for you. The driver will usually beat a hasty retreat rather than waste his time sitting in a police cell.
Avoid the situation by making sure you agree on the fare before getting in the
If you do pay too much for a taxi ride, remember it's only 10 or 20 Euro, don't let it ruin your holiday.
With the financial crisis and influx of refugees into Greece, crime has risen but it's a case of being alert and aware of your surroundings; violent street crimes in Greece are rare.
In 2017, Greek police arrested 31 gang members who were targeting tourists in Athens and Piraeus with a sophisticated pickpocketing operation. They were stealing from at least 15 people a day to the tune of approximately US$4,000. Since the arrests, the number of reported thefts has decreased, however, it's an ongoing task for police.
Pickpockets operate on the metro, at markets, and in crowded areas and streets such as Omonia and Athinas in Athens. They also love riding the metro between Athens airport and the city because the security is minimal to non-existent. They will use all sorts of distraction techniques such as pretend health issues, falling down, distracting you with conversation and more.
Some Greeks blame "foreigners" for most of the pickpocketing and petty crime. It sounds a little like prejudice, but there's an element of truth to it with crime gangs from less wealthy regions of Europe attracted to the easy-pickings of tourist destinations.
If – that's a big IF – you're going to get robbed or mugged, it's most likely to happen after dark and in a secluded street of a rundown area.
A few regular visitors have singled out the Athens districts of Monastiraki or Omonia (the red light district) and near the railway stations of Larissa and Peloponissos as potential areas for crime.
Outside of Athens and the other big cities you'd have to be particularly careless with your belongings to have them stolen.
You should always take reasonable care to protect your valuables. If you're in a busy market or a crowd, wear your bag at the front, with your arms through the loops and all the pockets closed.
Don't look like a visitor; leave the bling at home and dress casually. Walk confidently as if you are planning to go somewhere, and determine the route before you leave.
Only take the money you will need for the day, and keep it out of sight. Consider using a decoy wallet so if it does get lifted, thieves won't get the money and cards you have hidden.
Don't leave your valuables on the table or in your bag over the back of the chair while dining.
Keep your camera in the bag until you want to take a photo.
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