Turkey is admirably safe in
most regards, street crime is
on the rise in the large cities.
don't mean to alarm you. I've
traveled in Turkey for over 40
years and I've never lost a penny
to crime, or suffered any injury.
like most countries, Turkey is not
as safe as it used to be. There has
been an increase in local
crime, and evidence that criminals
from neighboring countries have
come to Turkey as well.
Street crimes in large cities used
to be mostly those of stealth:
pocket-picking, bag-slashing, etc.
It's good to remember, however, that
street crime is a problem in every
large city in the world; that relatively
few visitors are victims of crimes;
and that those who practice
good urban safety precautions are least
likely to be bothered by crime.
walking or shopping in the big
cities (Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir, etc.),
in any crowded place such as a bus,
tram, Metro, market, entrance to
a busy place—anywhere
where people are packed close together,
guard your bag, wallet, camera, jewelry,
wrist watch, and anything else of
get behind or beside you in a crowded
place, slash your bag or pocket with
a razor blade and collect your valuables.
You don't see or feel a thing. Defense: keep
your bag in front of you where you
can see it, not behind you.
Bag-snatchers (kapkaççı): often
young boys, they will lunge past
you, grabbing your bag on the way.
is pretty simple: when in
a crowded place, wear your bag strap
across your chest and hold
your bag close, just as
you would in a New York subway or
the London Underground. This wouldn't
stop a determined thief, of course,
but the point is that the thief is
not after your bag, he's
after the easiest bag. By
holding yours firmly, you remove
yourself from the 'easy' category.
He'll probably look elsewhere for
your bag is snatched, it's best to
raise a ruckus, but not to pursue
the thief. Yelling Kapkaççı! (kahp-KAHTCH-chuh)
might rally bystanders to your aid.
young boys—often carry knives
and can be dangerous so
it's wise to leave pursuit to the
artists (dolandırıcı): the
world's variety of cons (swindles)
is endless, so be on your guard.
One con I encountered: when he
learned I was American, a guy asked
if he could "see a US dollar." "I've
never seen a dollar," he said.
Hah! It was a con to find out where
I kept my money and to get
it out in the open so
he could grab it and run.
con aimed at women with children
several heavily-cloaked women surround
you "to admire your child." One
reaches for the child. The mother
rushes to protect the child, one
of the thieves grabs her purse, and
they all flee, hiding the purse under
by force) is rare but possible, especially
in popular tourist areas of Istanbul such
as Sultanahmet, Taksim
Square, and the Grand
Bazaar. At the same time, the police
are using high-tech methods (closed-circuit
TV surveillance, etc) to minimize
crime. Here are some tips:
with others if possible.
Lone travelers are more susceptible
to crime. (Read
especially if you're carrying luggage
or parcels, or if it's dark. For shopping trips,
you can have your hotel call a
taxi, then arrange with the driver
to meet you at an appointed time
and place for the trip back to
your hotel with your parcels. (But
taxis present their
own problems. More...)
rare, but it does happen, so observe
the normal travel precautions. Women
travelers should be sensitive
customs and attitudes. More...