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Croatia 2016 Crime & Safety Report

Europe > Croatia; Europe > Croatia > Zagreb

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Post Crime Rating: Low 

Crime Threats

Pickpockets and purse snatchings are not as common as in other European cities. The popular Adriatic beach cities are safe but do experience a rise in petty crimes during the busy summer months.

Residential burglaries are infrequent but generaly target unoccupied residences.

Other Areas of Concern

Stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering leftover mines in former conflict areas.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Driving is defined by narrow, crowded streets, and parking is often tight, making a mid-to compact-sized vehicle more practical. The number of cars has been growing steadily over the last decade, so rush hour can be congested. Roads are in fair shape and are maintained and cleaned regularly.

In the winter, the main roads are plowed often, but secondary and side roads are not always cleared. The twisting roads in the hills outside the center of Zagreb are often treacherous in bad weather. During summer months, roads toward the coast may be congested, especially on weekends.

Croatia’s highway network is well developed and enables good connections within the country. Construction continues on the highway extension south from Split to Dubrovnik. Primary roads are generally adequate but may have only one (narrow) lane in each direction.

Public Transportation Conditions

Zagreb boasts an efficient, widespread public transportation system that is inexpensive, reliable, convenient, and safe. Tickets can be purchased individually or in booklets at most kiosks and newspaper stands, or passengers may buy a ticket on-board the tram/bus (single ticket costs 10 kuna). Tickets are good for 90 minutes of travel in one direction regardless of the number of transfers, but they must be validated upon entry. While it may be tempting to ride the trams without a ticket, plainclothes inspectors do randomly check passengers, and fines for riding without a validated ticket are steep (150-200 kuna).

Zagreb's tiny funicular railway (Uspinjaca) is the oldest public transportation system in Croatia. Built in 1890, it runs 82 meters steeply uphill from the main shopping street (Ilica) to the Medieval Upper Town (Gornji Grad). (5.00 kuna per ticket, working hours: 6:30 am– 12 pm, every 10 minutes).

Trains are not generally the most efficient method of travel because rail lines cross and re-cross national borders on some routes. Southern Dalamatia and the entire Istrian peninsula, for example, cannot be reached from Zagreb without transiting another country. Other rail routes are infrequently serviced, slow, or more expensive than comparable bus service. 

Domestic bus service is, on the whole, more frequent and far less expensive than rail service.

Taxis are available at taxi stands throughout the city or may be ordered by phone. Taxis are safe and plentiful. The most known are Radio Taxi Zagreb, Cammeo, and Eko Taxi. Average meter rates are 9.90 kuna to start and an additional 4.90 kuna per kilometer. Rates are 20 percent higher between 10 pm-5 am and on Sundays or holidays. Most taxi companies do not have an additional fee for the luggage.

Other Travel Conditions

Croatia's coastal towns are well-served by both passenger and car ferry services. A "coast-hopper" ferry runs regularly along the coast from Rijeka to Dubrovnik, and there are links to Croatia's 66 inhabited islands, though inter-island links are few. During the summer season (late May-late September), the frequency of ferry sailings is much greater, and fast hydrofoil services are added. The largest passenger ferry terminals are in Rijeka, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik. International lines include connections to Ancona, Pescara, Bari, and Trieste (Italy), and Igoumenitsa (in Greece).

Terrorism Threat 

Post Terrorism Rating: Low 

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

Croatia is not a major source country for foreign fighters. The Ministry of Interior reports it is only aware of a few (non-fighting) spouses of Bosnian fighters who have traveled to conflict areas in the Middle East. However, it is quite possible that Croatia is used as a transit country. Extremist Croatian Muslims tend to drift toward Salafist centers in neighboring countries (Gornji Maoca in Bosnia, Serbia). Most known cases of Croatian foreign fighters involve people who first moved to Bosnia and then went overseas. Among the few known cases of extremist Croatian Muslims, some are converts to Islam.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Croatia has undergone significant changes since emerging from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Croatia’s entry into NATO in 2009 and the EU in 2013 followed the work of successive governments to implement deep political and societal reforms. Croatia’s full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community marks a success of the U.S. policy approach to leverage the EU and NATO accession processes to achieve lasting stability in the region by creating modern, democratic states. As the first state significantly touched by the conflicts of the 1990s to navigate the accession process, Croatia is proof of the validity of this approach. EU accession also marks the country’s entry into a new era, both for the domestic political scene and the bilateral relationship with the U.S. Croatia aspires to serve as a model for the states of the western Balkans, and the government strongly supports its neighbors’ Euro-Atlantic integration. Aside from providing technical expertise to these countries in navigating the NATO and EU accession paths, Croatia will use its influence to affect positive changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to resolve outstanding legacy issues from the war years with Serbia that block the full potential of their bilateral relationship.

Post Political Violence Rating: Low

Religious/Ethnic Violence

About 1.5 percent of the population (approx. 60,000 people) is Muslim. They are almost entirely indigenous Slavic Muslims (Bosniaks) and Albanians who have been living there for generations or who came as refugees during the 1990s. There are tiny numbers of Muslim students and workers from outside of the former Yugoslavia. The indigenous Croatian Muslim community is moderate and appreciative of Croatia’s toleration of their community. Following ISIS atrocities, condemnations have been readily made by Croatia’s Islamic leadership.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Croatia is seismically active, and Zagreb is rated 3 (“high”) on OBO’s (the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations) seismicity risk scale.

Drug-related Crimes

There is a growing concern that Croatia could be used as transit route for drug smugglers entering Western Europe.

Police Response

The police have adequate resources and usually respond to calls for service quickly and professionally. English speaking operators are on duty at the Zagreb emergency center, but that may not be the case in all regions.

Crime Victim Assistance

The countrywide police emergency service number is 192. 

Police/Security Agencies

Croatia has a national police apparatus that falls under the Ministry of Interior with a Criminal Investigative Directorate, Special Police Security Affairs, General, Crime, Terrorism, and War Crimes units. 

Medical Emergencies

Croatian health facilities are generally of Western caliber. The medical competency of Zagreb physicians is generally high, and most are English-speaking and have trained/worked in the U.S. 

Contact Information for Recommended Hospitals/Clinics

A list of English-speaking doctors and dentists can be foud on U.S. Embassy Zagreb’s website: http://zagreb.usembassy.gov/medical-information.html. 

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance 

For additional information on vaccines and health guidance, please visit the CDC at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/croatia. 

OSAC Country Council Information 

Croatia does not have a Country Council program. To reach OSAC’s Europe team, please email OSACEUR@state.gov. 

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information 

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation 

Thomasa Jeffersona 2; 10010 Zagreb, Croatia. 
Business hours: 0800-1700 

Embassy Contact Numbers 

Switchboard: 385-1-661-2400 
Website: http://zagreb.usembassy.gov/ 

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim 

Situational Awareness Best Practices 

Visitors should exercise the same precautions they would in any busy capital city. Visitors should exercise common-sense practices while at home and before going out of town to minimize chances of a break-in.