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

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Luxembourg 2019 Crime & Safety Report

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

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

Review OSAC’s Luxembourg-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.

Crime Threats

There is minimal risk from crime in Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a safe, modern country with infrastructure, services, and amenities similar to those found in the U.S. The general crime rate is well below the U.S. national average. Most crimes against U.S. citizens are petty street crimes and crimes of opportunity. Pickpocketing occurs with some regularity, often at popular tourist sites and near the train station, where victims are likely to be carrying cash for shopping and are usually distracted. Individuals who have traveled on trains to Luxembourg have also reported bags, laptops or other valuables stolen when left adjacent to seats or unattended.

Comparisons between the most recent crime statistics (2017) and the 2016 figures indicate a 4.7% decrease in recorded offenses with the police. The decrease continues a downward trend since a 2014 peak. There were 1,816 fewer crimes reported than the previous year and, combined with the growing population, the crime rate decreased by 7%. Statistics show a growing trend in thefts from cars (+27%), public intoxication (+30%)—the highest number in 5 years—and burglaries in empty homes (+16%). The burglaries occurred most often during the summer months or over school holidays, when residents are likely to be on vacation. In the vast majority of these cases, burglaries targeted unoccupied homes; home invasions or burglaries of occupied residences are rare.

Violent crime is rare but does exist. In 2017, one murder and one homicide occurred in the country; and there were 74 cases of attempted murder. There were no reports of U.S. citizens subjected to aggravated robberies (robberies involving a weapon). The number of cases involving assault and battery declined by 200, and rape cases declined to 84 reported cases from 106 in 2016.

One in ten people convicted of a crime in 2017 were minors, a proportion that has remained stable in recent years. Individuals under the age of 18 perpetrated 23% of thefts with violence and 28% of burglaries. Among the most common offences credited to minors were burglary, theft with violence, thefts linked to vehicles, vandalism and drug-related crimes.

Cybersecurity Issues

While service providers are modern and efficient, they are susceptible to hacking and unauthorized intrusions. In 2018, hackers attacked Luxembourg’s Parliament database, rendering internal administrative documents accessible for 24 hours. Spear phishing attacks are common; however, they are generally easy to recognize and can be avoided by simply deleting the email.

Other Areas of Concern

No areas in Luxembourg are restricted for U.S. government personnel. The neighborhood surrounding the main train station, referred to locally as the “Quartier Gare,” does have a slightly higher crime rate than the rest of the city. While the train station itself is safe, travelling the side streets that intersect the area, particularly at night, can expose individuals to a greater risk of becoming a victim of crime. Many adult entertainment clubs are located in this area, and open prostitution and narcotics trafficking occurs on a small scale. While police maintain a continuous presence and work diligently to enforce the law, when contrasted with the level of safety found in the rest of the city, the Quartier Gare is an area of concern. Avoid traveling alone on small side streets after dark, particularly in the Quartier Gare neighborhood.

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Main roads and highways are well illuminated and well maintained, comparable to those found in the U.S., and present no inherent dangers for motorists. Many towns and villages connect via smaller, older, and more challenging roads, which are often winding and not illuminated. Use caution driving outside of major thoroughfares. Cell phone use while driving is illegal without a hands-free system. Seat belt use is compulsory. Pedestrians have priority when crossing the road. Drivers must keep reflective clothing in the vehicle to wear in case of emergency or breakdown. For more information on self-driving, review OSAC’s Report Driving Overseas: Best Practices.

Drivers must carry a blank accident report in their vehicle, available through all local insurance companies. This report is necessary for any accident not involving injury. Typically, police do not respond to these types of accidents; it is the driver’s responsibility to exchange information and file the report with the insurance companies. In the event of injury, notify police immediately via the 112 or 113 emergency phone numbers.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a concern. Police report that a majority of accidents involve an impaired driver. Similar to Belgium, France, and Germany, the legal blood alcohol limit in Luxembourg is .05%. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, and drivers face substantial fines if caught. In 2017, authorities suspended 1,517 driver licenses because of drunk driving, and another 192 because of excess speeding.

Public Transportation Conditions

Luxembourg has an excellent record regarding public transportation. Virtually every part of the country is accessible by bus or train; both are safe and reliable. Within the city, it is not uncommon to see young children riding public buses unaccompanied by adults, as Luxembourgers have a high level of confidence in their public transportation.

Taxi service in the metropolitan areas is safe and appropriately regulated by the government.

In 2017, a new tram began service in Luxembourg, linking Luxexpo to Pont Rouge in the Kirchberg district along Avenue J.F. Kennedy. In 2018, three new tramway stations began service the Limpertsberg district, extending the tram across the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge. The third and fourth stages will be complete in 2021, extending the tramline to the Luxembourg Airport and the neighborhood of Cloche d’Or.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Although small, the Luxembourg airport (LUX) is well equipped to handle the volume of passenger (4.04 million) and cargo (938,000 tons) traffic as reported in 2018. Airport security procedures are similar to those found throughout Western Europe, and meet all U.S. aviation standards. A cadre of trained aviation security professionals screen passengers and cargo using modern equipment by. Uniformed police officers and private contract security personnel maintained airport security.

Terrorism Threat

There is minimal risk from terrorism in Luxembourg. The High Commission for National Protection (Haut-commissariat à la protection nationale, HCNP) falls under the responsibility of the Prime Minister and Minister of State, with the main mission of ensuring the safety of Luxembourg’s population. It is responsible for assigning alert levels to Luxembourg. The current VIGILNAT alert level for Luxembourg is 2 out of 4, indicating a Medium threat level. Alert Level 2:

  • Applies when the terrorist threat subject to analysis is judged to be possible and likely;
  • Consists of strengthening vigilance against a real threat that is as yet undefined;
  • Triggers the implementation of temporary measures of vigilance, prevention, and protection of variable intensity that do not excessively limit the country's economic and social life.

 

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

While there are no known indigenous terrorist organizations operating in Luxembourg, the country shares regional concerns with its neighbors: France, Belgium, and Germany. All three of these countries experienced terrorist attacks and major terrorism-related arrests in recent years, with several arrests occurring only miles from the Luxembourg border. A few Luxembourgish citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq in support of ISIS. While support for ISIS and other violent ideological groups remains extremely isolated, especially when contrasted with its neighbors, it does exist. There are no known international or transnational terrorist threats against U.S. interests in Luxembourg.

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment

Anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment is expressed minimally in Luxembourg, and has yet to manifest itself in for the form of significant protests or demonstrations. Third-country nationals have protested near the U.S. Embassy on a variety of topics over the last few years, but all have been peaceful and non-confrontational. Most recently, in 2017, a group of Kurdish individuals organized in front of the Embassy holding banners about the war in Kurdish areas.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Civil Unrest

There is minimal risk from civil unrest in Luxembourg. Protests tend to be small, well organized, and non-violent; local authorities generally sanctioned them in advance. Civil unrest, to include labor strikes, is extremely rare. The government is highly permissive in allowing freedom of assembly; groups wishing to hold protests or rallies need only apply for a permit to do so. These gatherings are virtually free of violence, proceed according to pre-arranged plans, and are generally without incident. Most activities involve raising awareness on a variety of social and global issues.

The Gilet Jaune (yellow vest) movement that has occurred in France, Belgium, and other European countries has not made its way to Luxembourg. There was an attempt, however, to capitalize on the Gilet Jaune movement in January 2019 in the Kirchberg district. Targeting “fraud and tax evasion,” the movement received very little support; only attracting four individuals to participate.

Post-specific Concerns

Critical Infrastructure

The Cattenom nuclear power plant is located approximately 45 minutes from the capital, in France. While there has never been a hazardous incident at the plant, should one occur, it would likely affect Luxembourg.

Privacy Concerns

Both as a matter of government policy and cultural belief, Luxembourg is extremely protective of individual rights to privacy. Numerous laws protect these rights, which are inviolable and are among the strongest in the EU. Some laws that would expand police authority are under consideration in response to regional terrorism concerns; however, any changes would require extensive public and governmental debate prior to institution.  

Drug-related Crimes

Next to burglaries, the fight against drugs constitutes the second major priority of the Grand Ducal Police. Few of these crimes involved violence, the majority relating solely to the sale and possession of illegal narcotics. However, in 2018, local police conducted a large-scale operation in Esch-sur-Alezette, Luxembourg’s second largest city, in an effort to crack down on drug trafficking and the escalating conflict between rival Portuguese/Cape Verdean gangs. These types of operations are uncommon in Luxembourg, but do occur periodically. Most drug-related activity occurs near the main train station, where street level transactions are common. Local police in this area focus primarily on stopping traffickers and decreasing consumers.

Police Response

The Grand Ducal Police employs a well-trained and well-equipped modern police force, placing a great emphasis on customer service. Police are highly professional and reliable. Many speak English; the general emergency number, 112, will most often have an English-speaking operator available.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Arrested or detained U.S. citizens should request immediate notification to the U.S. Embassy Consular Section at (+352) 46 01 23 00 during business hours, or (+352) 621 547 133 or (+352) 46 01 23 23 after hours.

Crime Victim Assistance

Contact police directly at 113. The general emergency number is 112, which includes police, fire, and ambulance services. For local first responders, refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.

Police/Security Agencies

The Grand Ducal Police is the primary law enforcement agency in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Interior. It is organized very similarly to local law enforcement in the U.S., with local police responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of criminal law, traffic regulations, incident response, and crime prevention. It is also responsible for internal security and airport and border security. Additionally, specialized units are responsible for investigations and crisis response.

Medical Emergencies

Medical care is comparable to that found in the U.S. Professionally-trained health care providers work in modern and well-equipped facilities. There are four general hospitals in Luxembourg City; emergency rooms operate on a 24-hour rotational basis. Reach the on-call emergency room or ambulance service by dialing 112.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

For medical assistance, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR), 175a rue de Cessange, L-1321, Tel: 27 36 53 65

Insurance Guidance

The Embassy recommends travelers consider obtaining regular travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance to cover all types of incidents.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Luxembourg.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is no active Country Council in Luxembourg. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

United States Embassy Luxembourg, 22 Blvd. Emmanuel Servais, L-2535 Luxembourg

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 0830-1730

Embassy Contact Numbers

Main switchboard: (+352) 46 01 23 00

Embassy Duty Officer: (+352) 621 547 133

Embassy Marine Security Guard Post One: (+352) 46 01 23 23

Website: https://lu.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling to Luxembourg should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.

Additional Resources

Luxembourg Country Information Sheet

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