After spending my Christmas holidays with family in Germany, I decided to share some practical safety tips for your next trip to Europe.

Germany is known for being one of the safest countries in the EU (European Union). That might explain why only 5% of all German households have a monitored security system. While wondering how successful I would be trying to suggest the installation of alarm systems in Germany’s small towns and villages, the larger cities are a different story.

When travelling to cities with a population of 1 to 4 million, such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne or Frankfurt, your exposure to danger increases drastically.

The most serious threat for tourists are pickpockets who thrive in crowded places such as shopping centers, tourist attractions, airports and train stations.

No matter your travel destination, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Leave the bling at home in order to reduce your risk of getting robbed. Valuable items and documents should be kept in a hotel safe whenever possible.

Should you fall victim to theft or burglary while in Germany, report it immediately to the closest police station (www.polizei.de). Obtain a certificate indicating that the stolen property has been reported to support your insurance claim.

If you have lost a valuable item, contact the city’s Lost and Found (“Fundbüro”, www.fundbuero24.de), available in every German city.


(German Christmas Market. Picture taken from HAMBURGER MORGENPOST, Nov. 20, 2014)

 

Travelling by train is a popular option for getting around in Europe. It was our mode of transportation from Hamburg to Frankfurt. Speeds of 180 kilometers/hour while comfortably watching the county side go by. However, that comes with another set of worries: what to do with your e-reader when getting up from your seat?

And sure enough, thefts on trains have increased by 14% according to the Bundespolizei (German Police). Most incidents involve smaller pickpockets. However, there have been reports of gang activity, where culprits work in groups. One guy distracts the victim and prevents him from escape, the next one takes the valuables and passes them on to a third culprit who takes off.

When travelling by train, never leave your wallet in the open, have it with you wherever you go. Any valuables and documents should be safely stowed away at all times. Some ICE (InterCity) trains have lock boxes available for passengers to use.

If your next travel destination is Germany, rest assured that it is indeed still one of the safest countries in Europe. As long as you use your common sense, there is no need to take fear along as your travel companion.

If you don’t have a security system, if your system is not monitored or if you are unhappy with your current security provider, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, 780-288-2986