Serbia Crime & Safety → Don't be scared, be aware

Belgrade and other cities in Serbia are relatively safe like most other large cities elsewhere in the world.

For a country that's slowly emerging from years of war and internal security issues, Serbia is relatively safe when it comes to crime. As in most countries, travellers should take precautions and remember if it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.

Serbian Dangers

Belgrade does not have high levels of street crime, but pick-pocketing and purse snatchings do occur., and of course, tourists are prime targets.

People traveling to Serbia should take the same precautions in Belgrade as they would in any large city around the world.

Most crimes happen because people let down their guard. Unlocked cars, items left in plain sight in a car, open gates, and open garage doors make attractive targets for thieves. Car thefts or break-ins can happen any time, day or night in all sections of Belgrade and other parts of the country.

Bribery

A recent report by Belgrade-based newspaper Blic says bribery has become a way of life in Serbia. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they'd been asked for a bribe and 50% said they'd offered a bribe.

The average size of bribes was €178, but most were around the €50 mark. Interestingly the people who were being offered or asking for bribes were most commonly medical workers (38%), probably indicating some difficulty in accessing quality health care in the country. The next most popular targets for bribes were police officers (35%), then local government officials (10%).

Mafia of Serbia

In Serbia, difficult economic conditions have sparked the growth of an organized criminal class, and violent crime is most often associated with organized crime activities.

But travelers shouldn't be too worried. Tourists are almost never the targets of violent crime, but Mafia-style reprisals have occurred.

When those kinds of crimes happen, innocent bystanders may become unintended victims of crime. You should be especially on guard in city centers here, just as you would anywhere else in the world.

Don't be scared, just be aware.

It's Their Country

While you are traveling in Serbia, remember you are subject to its laws even if you are a foreign citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from elsewhere.

An example: In Serbia it is prohibited to take pictures of the old annex to the Ministry of Defense building or the old Ministry of the Interior building.

If you break local laws in Serbia, your passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It's very important to know what's legal and what's not where you are going.

3 Comments

  • Robert Etheridge said

    I have just returned from 3 weeks in Belgrade. It was the friendliest city I have ever been to. If you make the effort to get on with the locals and respect their ways they are great people who will go out of their way to help you. I will definitely be going back very soon. Please don't be put off going to Belgrade it is very safe!

  • Bojan said

    Exactly...If you look your business nobody but nobody will touch you,if you are in problem they will help you,they will not try to disturb or to make a problem...
    Also,they are people looking ,,their business,,...
    So guaranteed 100% it's safe !!!
    Believe me,I am Serbian ..
    :)

  • Nervous Eric said

    I just come back from Belgrade and it was scary. First, i was attacked by group of Ninjas, with nun chaku and all that stuff, then i was attacked by Tiger, yes a tiger! He escape from the zoo! In the end, i manage to escape to the border, just to find my self in a bar with Italian mobsters. Oh boy, that was the ride, i am happy to get out of Serbia alive. Like i was born for a second time.

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