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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Security Alert: Germany, Summer Security Reminder

Summer is here!  Germany is a safe country to travel to or reside in.  That said, it is always good to practice some common-sense safety precautions.  Historically, this time of year sees a marked increase in crime on the streets of most cities in Germany and throughout our neighborhoods. Whether a fire, criminal, or an act of terror, events can occur anytime or anywhere.  The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a healthy level of situational awareness. This includes avoiding political protests and demonstrations, and maintaining situational awareness when attending public events.  Be especially vigilant while using public transportation and at train stations.  Keep your belongings in a safe place, especially your passport.  Understand that each of us could find ourselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Have a plan on how to react in such a situation.  Share that plan with your family.  Such a mindset will ensure you do not freeze up if faced with an emergency situation.

 

Remember, security is everyone’s responsibility!  Here are some security tips to keep in mind:

 

General Security Awareness Tips

·         Practice good child safety measures.  This includes traveling in groups, avoiding isolated play areas and contact with strangers.  Know where your children are at all times.

·         Dress to discourage unwanted attention from muggers.  Do not dress like a tourist.  If you're obviously not a local, you're more likely to be targeted.  Do not wear flashy jewelry or watches.  Do not carry a large purse, briefcase, or backpack.

·         Know where you are going.  Muggers often prey on tourists or people who are lost.  If you are in an unfamiliar place, learn the route you wish to take.

·         Avoid dangerous parts of town.  Bad neighborhoods with little foot traffic are especially risky.

·         Walk with a sense of purpose.  Walk with a purpose and do not engage strangers in conversation.  Be particularly on-guard when in popular tourist areas.

·         Travel in groups.  Muggers are much more likely to go after individuals than groups.

·         Stay alert for possible dangers.  You become a target of opportunity when wearing headphones, talking on the phone, or reading a map.  Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions.  

·         Take action if you sense danger or are attacked.  If you believe you are being followed, go directly to a populated area, café/bar, or other well-attended place.  Make noise or call for help.  Do not be afraid to draw attention to yourself.

·         Beware of pickpockets and purse snatchers.  Consider placing your wallet in a front trouser pocket or carrying your purse cross-shoulder.  Thieves often create or take advantage of distractions to separate you from your valuables.  Maintain situational awareness.  Be particularly wary in malls, food courts, and S & U-Bahn stations.    

·         Do not fall for distractions.  The distraction on your right may be the prelude to a pickpocket approaching you on the left.  If someone asks you what time it is, perhaps they’re really asking what kind of watch do you have?        

·         If you are confronted, COOPERATE.  Give the criminal what they want.  Your life is more valuable than your possessions.  Do concentrate on remembering a description of the person(s).  Call police (110) immediately.

·         Remember, problems are more likely to occur late in the evening and/or after consuming large amounts of alcohol.  Use good judgment.   

 

Residential Security Tips

·           Ensure all doors and windows are closed and locked.

·           Use roll-down shutters as appropriate.

·           Lock your garage and/or basement/storage room doors when not in use.

·           Inform trusted neighbors of travel plans and ask them to be watchful for unusual activity.

·           Leave lights or music on when you leave to give the impression that someone is at home.  Use light timers if possible.    

Vehicle Burglaries

·           Keep vehicle doors locked (even when you are driving).

·           Ensure all windows are closed.

·           Do not leave valuables in plain view.

·           Park in well-lit areas, fenced lots, or garages whenever possible.

 

 

CALLING FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES:  Dial 110 (police) or 112 (fire/medical).  When connected, ask for an English-speaking operator, if you need one. 

 

For further information:

 

•        See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Europe Travel Alert, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.

 

•        Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

 

•        Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

 

•        Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

•        The American Citizen Services Unit for the U.S. Embassy Berlin is located at Clayallee 170, 14195 Berlin, and is open by appointment only Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The telephone number is +49-69-7535-0; email: acsberlin@state.gov.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the after-hours emergency number for the U.S. Embassy Berlin is +49-30-8305-0.

 

•        The U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt is located at Gießener Strasse 30, 60435 Frankfurt am Main.  The telephone number is +49-69-7535-0 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday–Friday); e-mail: GermanyACS@state.gov.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of normal business hours, the emergency number for the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt is +49-69-7535-0

 

•        The U.S. Consulate General in Munich is located at Königinstrasse 5 and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  The telephone number is +49-89-2888-580 during office hours; e-mail: ConsMunich@state.gov.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance after-hours, the emergency number for the U.S. Consulate General in Munich is +49-89-2888-0.

 

•        Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

 

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