Don’t be afraid — just be aware. Serbia’s big cities are safe.
For a nation emerging from years of internal problems, Serbia is comparatively safe. As in most nations, travelers should take precautions, use common sense and remember if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t.
Belgrade does not have a rampant spread of street crime. Pickpockets and purse snatching do happen, as they do anywhere, and tourists are prime marks.
Anyone who travels to Serbia should use the same precautions they would in any of the world’s large cities.
Most crimes occur because people let down their guard and leave car doors unlocked with items in plain sight. Open gates and garage doors make nice targets for the thieves. Car thefts or break-ins happen any time day or night in all parts of Belgrade and other parts of the country.
Belgrade-based newspaper Blic recently published a report that indicates bribery has become a way of life in Serbia. Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents report being asked for a bribe and half say they’ve offered a bribe.
The average size was $178, but most were around $50. The people who were offering, or asking, for problems were most often medical workers. The next popular target for bribes were law enforcement and then local government authorities.
In Serbia, challenging economic conditions
have sparked the growth of organized crime. Violent crime is more often associated with mob activities.
Travelers should be worried. Tourists are almost never the focus of violent crime but Mafia-style reprisals have happened.
When those kinds of crimes happen, innocent bystanders can become unintended victims of crime. Be especially on guard in city centers just as anywhere else on the planet.
It’s Their Country
When traveling in Serbia, remember YOU are subject to their laws. Foreign laws and the legal system are often different from home.
For example, in Serbia is is prohibited to take photographs of the old annex to the Ministry of Defense building or the old Ministry of the Interior.
Break local laws in Serbia and your passport won’t help. You can still be arrested or prosecuted. It is important to know what is legal and what is not wherever you go.
Serbia is a safe country to visit my modern standards. Just use common sense as you would in anywhere else and you’ll be ok.