Thursday, August 8, 2013

How careful should you be going to Austria

If there is a country in the world that I would advice you to go is Austria, has a high standard of living and there is no real poverty and no slums. As a result, it has a very low crime rate, especially in regard to violent crime, mostly confined to Vienna.
Provincial villages and, national park areas are considered safe at any time. Because of the relative safety you will notice that people do not flee indoors when the sun goes down. That's when they head for their favorite Kaffehaus, restaurant or wine tavern to chat with friends or perhaps check out the nightlife.

Be aware that racism does exist in the country. You might encounter attitudes that could make for an unpleasant experience. Rather, they may be evident in strange looks or comments in provincial areas where there isn’t any ethnic or racial mix.

Don’t become a victim

Bicycle theft is also a problem in cities throughout Austria: it’s important to lock your bike to a permanent fixture when you leave it. In addition, petty crime such as pick pocketing is known to occur and is usually directed at foreign tourists. Prime pick pocketing areas include busy tourist attractions as well as train and bus stations. Be especially careful during the tourist season and in high traffic areas. Late night trains where tired passengers often fall asleep are a favorite of pick pockets. The rules are the same everywhere.
  • Don't be alone at night in dark places
  • Don't go into isolated or poorly lit areas and don't use ATM's in poorly lit areas
  • Don't carry your wallet in the open
  • Don't carry more cash that you need that day, leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a hotel safe
  • Don't leave your belongings in airports, train stations and other highly trafficked areas 
  • Don’t buy counterfeit merchandise. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but by purchasing them you could also be breaking local law.
Be a smart traveler. Remove the temptation, your visible luggage or personal items from cars when parking, especially near popular tourist sites.

The criminals are getting smarter

Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise worldwide. In this silent crime you may not even know that you have been a victim until much later. The traveler can do a few things to protect themselves:
  • Be observant of your surroundings. If you are using ATM's, public computers, or even your own smart phone or tablet, look to make sure no one can observe your user names and passwords.
  • If you are using a public computer don't get sucked in with an offer to help with the local language and always log off and shut down before leaving.
  • Don't use a debit card connected to your primary checking and savings accounts. If these are lost or stolen, your accounts can be drained. Rather, use a credit card where your exposure is only your credit line.

If you become a victim

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They can:
  • Replace a stolen passport;
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape;
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want they can contact family members or friends
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
They also maintain information on their website on where to get help in child abuse situations.

Where can tourists get more information on Austria?
Detailed information on Austria can be obtained by calling the Austrian National Tourist Office Information Center at (212) 944-6880 (for U.S. residents) or (416) 967-3381 (for Canadian residents).

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