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

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Slovenia 2020 Crime & Safety Report

This is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana. OSAC encourages travelers to use this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Slovenia. For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s country-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Slovenia at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime Threats

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Ljubljana as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. While many travelers do not encounter crime, areas tourists frequent can experience petty crime. Most crimes are non-violent. Taking into account that crimes of opportunity can take place anywhere, travel throughout Slovenia is safe, and there are no areas considered best to avoid.

Criminals generally do not single out U.S. or foreign visitors based on nationality, but rather because they look and act like tourists. Most of the crimes committed against U.S. visitors fall into the category of petty theft (e.g. pickpocketing, purse snatching) or unoccupied residential/vehicle break-ins. These crimes are rare in comparison to rates in the U.S. or neighboring European countries. In Ljubljana, bicycle theft is disproportionately high compared to other similarly situated cities. Crimes in Slovenia typically occur in crowded areas, train stations, restaurants, open markets, and public transportation venues. Recent events involving U.S. Embassy personnel included thefts of bicycles, cellular phone theft, and one case of a robbery involving a weapon in which no one was injured. Review OSAC’s report, All That You Should Leave Behind.

Most car break-ins are committed to obtain valuables left in plain view or the trunk. Slovenia reported 432 vehicle thefts in 2019, a slight decrease compared to 2018.

Residential burglaries primarily occur when security vulnerabilities exist, and/or residents do not implement sound residential security practices. Reports indicate thefts usually occur when occupants are away for an extended period; burglars usually gain access through doors or other entry points left unlocked. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security.

Transnational organized crime networks use Slovenia as a route to traffic narcotics and people, with human smuggling networks also operating in-country. Auto theft, fraud, tax evasion, and counterfeit goods are additional organized crime concerns. The violent crime that does occur in Slovenia generally involves organized crime. Online gambling leads to crimes, including loan sharking, threats, and/or blackmail. These incidents have also been reported at gambling/betting establishments, in private vehicles, and at private businesses in the late evening or early morning hours. Organized criminals typically design these crimes to send a message, rather than cause injury/fatality, to the intended recipient.

Patronizing establishments advertising themselves as cabarets, nightclubs, strip clubs, or gentlemen’s clubs can create vulnerabilities. In Slovenia, it is not uncommon for “cabaret girls” (also referred to as “artistes”) to be associated with, or be victims of, the commercial sex industry and organized crime groups. Visitors to cabarets, or those who engage with “artistes” may find themselves significantly overcharged for drinks, particularly when paying by credit card, and threatened with physical violence when they refuse to pay.

U.S. citizens have reported sexual assaults in at least one nightclub in recent years. Use caution when accepting open drinks at bars or clubs, and don’t leave your drinks unattended. Review OSAC’s report, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad.

Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.

Cybersecurity Issues

Any company operating in Slovenia should prioritize cybersecurity and only use legitimate software. Embassy personnel and local businesses have been targets of a range of cybersecurity scams, and the newly-established OSAC Ljubljana Country Council has identified cybersecurity issues as the top priority for future engagement.

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones: Critical or Contraband?

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Slovenia has a well-developed road network that is safe for travel. Highways connect to neighboring cities/countries and have clear markings. Road signs and traffic rules are consistent with those throughout Europe. As the number of cars continues to rise, roads are becoming more heavily congested during the weekends and during rush hours. Parking is difficult and can be expensive in the city center.

Third-party liability insurance is mandatory for all vehicles; purchase coverage locally. Travelers driving rented automobiles from Croatia into Slovenia are generally able to purchase Slovenian insurance at the border. At the smaller border crossings or during peak travel times, however, it can take several hours to arrange such coverage.

Be alert to aggressive drivers in cities and on highways. Many serious accidents occur because of high-speed driving. Emergency roadside assistance and towing services are available by dialing 1987. By law, the maximum legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05 (0% for novice drivers with less than two years of experience, any driver under 21 years, and drivers of trucks and buses).

Between November 15 and March 15, the law mandates the use of winter tires. All-season tires are allowable if they carry the MS mark and have at least 4 mm of tread. In addition, local police may require chains in heavy snow. Failure to possess the proper tires/chains may result in a substantial fine and the suspension of the cited vehicle's use. Insurance may be invalid if a vehicle involved in an accident between November 15 and March 15 is not fitted with winter tires.

Highway vignettes (purchased in the form of windshield stickers) are obligatory for all passenger vehicles using expressways. One of the most common problems U.S. citizens visiting Slovenia face is a highway police stop for driving without a vignette. Police may fine drivers several hundred euros for driving without a vignette. If police stop and fine a driver for driving without a vignette, the driver must immediately purchase one. Simply buying a vignette and placing it on the dashboard is not sufficient – you must affix the vignette to the windshield of the vehicle permanently. You can purchase vignettes at gas stations, newsstands, automobile clubs, post offices, and some toll stations, as well as at some gas stations in neighboring countries.

Using hand-held phones while driving is illegal, as is turning right on red. Some intersections have both a traffic light and a stop sign; the stop sign only applies when the traffic light is not working.Headlight (day and night), seatbelt, and helmet (on motorcycles) use is mandatory. In addition, in your car you must carry a first-aid kit, spare headlight bulbs, a warning triangle, a reflective vest/jacket, and a blank European accident form to complete in the event of an accident.

Bicycling is popular, and cities have well-developed bicycling networks with marked bicycle lanes along most roads. Drivers must yield to bicyclists. Slovenia has more rules governing cyclists than the U.S.; police may ticket cyclists who do not follow them. There are special rules regarding children and bicycles. Visit Slovenia’s Bicycle Safety page for a list of rules and advice for cyclists. Secure your bicycle before leaving it in a bicycle rack or bike park.

U.S. citizens must be in possession of both a valid U.S. driver’s license and an International Driving Permit to drive legally. This is valid for a maximum of one year, after which time drivers must obtain a Slovenian driver’s license. Current information about traffic and road conditions is available in English from the Automobile Association of Slovenia by calling (01) 530-5300 and from the Traffic Information Center for Public Roads.

Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Public Transportation Conditions

Trains and buses are available between cities, and buses provide reliable service within cities such as Ljubljana. While Ljubljana's taxis are generally safe, clean, and reliable, some taxi drivers at the airport, hotels, and main railway stations have overcharged tourists. When using a taxi, first ask for an estimate of the total cost and then check to see that the meter is running during the journey.

Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

As there is no direct commercial air service to the U.S. by carriers registered in Slovenia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU) is located in Brnik, just northwest of the capital. LJU is a regional airport, from which travelers must usually transfer once before reaching distant destinations. LJU had been the hub for Adria Airways, which ceased operations in late 2019.

Terrorism Threat

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Ljubljana as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Available information and historical incident reporting suggests there is low risk of terrorism in Slovenia and with little international/transnational terrorist activity observed. Slovenia’s borders with its Western European/EU neighbors are open, allowing for the possibility of anonymous entry/exit. Though they have not specifically targeted Slovenian or U.S. interests in Slovenia, terrorist organizations remain active in the region.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Ljubljana as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic with a multi-party, democratic political system, characterized by regular elections, a free press, and a strong human rights record. As a member of the Schengen area, Slovenia exerts control over its borders and visa issuance procedures.

Civil Unrest

There is low risk of major civil unrest in Slovenia. In recent years, Slovenia experienced large-scale protests (up to several thousand) against the Slovenian government with frequency in central Ljubljana and around the country, as well as minor protests against government policies regarding wages, refugees, and other issues. Protests and demonstrations are generally peaceful, with few instances of violence in recent years. Protests in Ljubljana are usually held in areas around Kongresni Trg (Congress Square), opposite the Slovenian Parliament, and sometimes near the U.S. Embassy. In April 2018, a small group of protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in response to U.S. foreign policy regarding Syria. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Religious/Ethnic Violence

Slovenia has a relatively homogeneous population, and there have been few reports of religious or ethnic violence.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Earthquakes constitute the largest environmental threat in Slovenia, followed by other natural disasters, including localized flooding and landslides. The northwest of the country is its most seismically active area, but Ljubljana has also experienced tremors. Find best practices in case of an earthquake here.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

Slovenia has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, with a population increasingly demanding online opportunities in government, commerce, and health. The government has dedicated funds to improve broadband in more municipalities. Slovenia has a high mobile penetration rate.

Economic Concerns/Intellectual Property Theft

The environment for economic espionage is no different than it is in other EU countries. Private-sector organizations should take care to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of their data by following normal best business practices, including use of authorized software. The intellectual property rights (IPR) situation is in line with EU norms, and authorities generally enforce IPR laws.

The professional business and banking community processes information according to appropriate security procedures, guidelines, and local and EU laws. The Embassy is not aware of any particular privacy concerns arising from widespread misuse of such information. Cyber security should be a priority for any company operating in Slovenia. The importance of using only legitimate software cannot be overstressed.

Personal Identity Concerns

While most travelers typically do not encounter problems, issues have occurred over the last few years of individuals facing discrimination. There are no widespread trends regarding the safety and security of minority groups, but cases of racial discrimination and discrimination against LGBTI+ individuals can occur.

The law prohibits sexual harassment, psychological violence, mistreatment, or unequal treatment in the workplace that causes “another employee’s humiliation or fear.” However, authorities did not prosecute any sexual harassment cases in 2019. Upon receiving reports of spousal abuse or violence, police mostly intervene and prosecute offenders, but local NGOs report victims of sexual violence often do not report crimes to police. Local NGOs assess that police and courts do not effectively intervene in or prosecute cases of alleged domestic abuse. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for female travelers.

Local NGOs assess that violence against LGBTI+ persons was not uncommon. However, over the past year, LGBTI+-attended venues have been targets for vandalism and members of the LGBTI+ community have been victims of physical attack. The LGBTI+ community is protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal/governmental impediments to the organization of LGBTI+ events. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.

There were no reports of anti-Semitic violence or overt religious discrimination in 2019. The government promotes anti-bias and tolerance education in primary and secondary schools, with the Holocaust a mandatory topic in the history curriculum. There are concerns about what some say are rising levels of anti-Islamic sentiment in the country. Muslim groups reported anti-Muslim sentiment in news media and online. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.

Under Slovenian law, persons with disabilities should have access to buildings, information, and communications. In practice, however, modification of public and private structures to improve access is a work in progress, and many buildings are not easily accessible. Most tourist destinations around Slovenia are accessible by those with disabilities. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

Discrimination against socially marginalized Roma persists in some parts of the country.

Drug-related Crimes

Slovenia is not a major illicit drug-producing country, but it is a transit country for the movement of illicit narcotics and precursor chemicals to other European markets. Heroin transits Slovenia via the "Balkan Route" and the port of Koper to Western Europe. Drug-related violence is rare.

Kidnapping Threat

Kidnappings are extremely rare in Slovenia, and those that have been reported have not involved U.S. citizens or the broader international business community. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.

Other Issues

Non-EU citizens staying longer than three days must register with the Slovenian police within 72 hours of arrival. Hotels and apartments or houses rented through a company will complete this registration. In all other cases, the traveler must self-register at a local police station. Failure to register can result in significant fines.

Police Response

The police emergency line in Slovenia is 113. Police response and services are good. English is the most widely spoken foreign language among the police. For local first responders, refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.

The national police maintain internal security. The army is responsible for external security but also has some domestic security responsibilities. Police report to the Interior Ministry and the army reports to the Defense Ministry.

The U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office (RSO) recommends filing a local police report in the jurisdiction where a crime occurred. Filing a police report is not obligatory, but doing so may assist the local police in catching the criminal(s). In the city center, report crime in person at the Ljubljana Police Station Center, Trdinova Street 10, tel: (386)-(0)1-475-0600. Download the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Medical Emergencies    

The medical emergency line in Slovenia is 112. Good-quality emergency medical care is readily available. Ambulance services are widely available. When contacting an ambulance, if you do not speak Slovenian, you may need to find a Slovenian speaker who can explain your location. Many medical providers in Slovenia speak excellent English, but that may not be the case for all medical staff. For medical assistance, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. Although most government-run institutions in Slovenia provide care at little or no cost to Slovenian nationals, foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, must pay the full cost directly. You may later seek reimbursement from your health insurance provider. Private clinics will require payment up front. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance overseas.

Ljubljana has air pollution levels similar to those in major U.S. cities. Visit the European Environment Agency website for information on air quality in Slovenia.

The tap water in Ljubljana and other cities in Slovenia is suitable for drinking. Precautions for safe food storage and preparation are the same as would be practiced in the U.S. Detailed laboratory reports about the water quality are available in Slovenian. Slovenia does not put fluoride in the tap water, so long term residents might want to consider fluoride supplements for their children. Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My Water?

Outdoor adventure sports are increasingly popular with tourists in Slovenia. Such activities involve inherent risk, and travelers should be mindful of their own personal limitations, as well as accessibility and connectivity issues that might hinder emergency response. Many of the mountain rescues in Slovenia involve foreign nationals who were ill-prepared: hiking or climbing without proper footwear and protective equipment, unprepared for altitude sickness, drinking insufficient quantities of water, leaving marked trails, and even handling poisonous snakes. If you are hiking/climbing, you should let family/friends know where you will be in advance, and register at mountain huts.

Slovenia has a high incidence of Lyme disease and encephalitis, both transmitted by ticks. For stays longer than three months, consider getting a vaccine to prevent tick-borne encephalitis. This vaccine is not available in the United States, but is available in Slovenia. Use insect repellent and inspect your body after being outdoors. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Slovenia.

Review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication,Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is an active OSAC Country Council in Ljubljana. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions or to join.

U.S. Embassy Contact Information

Prešernova Cesta 31, Ljubljana

The Consular Section is open daily to the public from 0900-1130 and 1300-1500.

Embassy Operator: +386 (1)-200-5500.

Marine Post One: +386 (1)-200-5556

Website: http://si.usembassy.gov/

Helpful Information

Before you travel, consider the following resources:

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