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Luxembourg 2012 Crime and Safety Report

Europe > Luxembourg > Luxembourg

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime Threats 

Luxembourg is a relatively safe and modern European country with effective law enforcement and security services. Local and federal police maintain a low profile and are generally reactive. Although violent crime is less prevalent in Luxembourg cities than in similarly sized American cities, property crimes still occur. Thieves are often guided by the victim's lack of security awareness or perceived affluence, not their nationality.   

Pickpockets are a problem on buses and in the train station. The Luxembourg Gare (main train station), which services the high-speed trains to/from Paris can be a problem. Laptop computers, wallets, and passports have been stolen when a traveler is preoccupied. Visitors must be aware of their immediate surroundings, maintain direct control of their bags, and avoid displaying high value items.
 
Residential crime is also a concern, especially during the traditional vacation periods in August and around Christmas.  
Road Safety 

Tickets are required on public transit, but access is based on the honor system. Police do conduct random checks and a large fine will be assessed to passengers without a valid ticket.

Highways and larger Luxembourg roads are well lit and maintained. Secondary and/or rural roads can be narrow, poorly maintained, and unlit. Travelers should carry a blank copy of an accident report (available through Luxembourg insurance companies and pre-positioned and on the embassy website) in the event of a minor accident not involving injury. Note: Police will normally not respond to an accident if there are NO injuries. This document is completed by both parties and submitted to their respective insurance companies. In the event of injuries or serious damage, police must be notified, and the drivers must remain on the scene until the police complete their report.

The largest concern for highway safety is intoxicated drivers. Belgium was reported in 2011 as having the highest per capita DUI rate in Europe, and Luxembourg shares a border with Belgium. While exact statistics regarding DUIs in Luxembourg are not available, police report it as the highest concern for road safety.  

Political Violence 

Historical Perspective

Luxembourg is a peaceful democratic nation composed of federal, regional, and municipal governments. Luxembourg shares a very close relationship with the United States (who they still recognize as their “liberators” from Nazi occupation). Local Luxembourg groups, as well as other European groups, will hold demonstrations in Luxembourg to bring attention to their cause. Many of these demonstrations are directed at offices of the European Union (which are permanently based in Luxembourg) rather than at the government of Luxembourg. Farmers and truck drivers have staged large, but generally peaceful, demonstrations. The main effect of these demonstrations is to bring intercity traffic to a stand-still.   

Regional Terrorism and Organized Crime

There are several anarchist and action-oriented special interest groups operating in Luxembourg. They have, however, remained quiet and demonstrate on rare occasions (none in the previous reporting period).

Organized crime exists in Luxembourg, as in any other country. Most activity is centered around Luxembourg City and includes prostitution and illicit drug trafficking activities. Many of the organizations are related to ones in Eastern Europe.  

International Terrorism or Transnational Terrorism

International terrorism has traditionally been viewed as the primary security threat to Luxembourg, with the European Union Supreme Court and European World Bank in Luxembourg. As a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, Luxembourg has no border controls on land routes into the country and border controls at the airports have sometimes proven less than fully effective.   

Civil Unrest

Protests and demonstrations by various political, labor, and social groups are infrequent but common occurrences throughout Luxembourg. These gatherings are usually peaceful, though traffic is often disrupted in busy city centers. Americans are advised to avoid demonstrations; police action or crowd movements could endanger or trap an unwary observer. There were several large demonstrations over the past year, none of which resulted in any reported violence or loss of/ damage to property.  

Post-Specific Concerns

Luxembourg hosts an extremely large number of international visitors and is often the location of multi-lateral conferences and meetings. Although not a traditional tourist destination, Luxembourg and the surrounding area is the headquarters of a large number of multi-national corporations, the EU, and banking.

Environmental Hazards

There are no significant environmental hazards in Luxembourg. The eastern portion of the country drops in elevation to a major river, and portions flood during heavy rains, but this does not affect industrial or city centers.  

Industrial and Transportation Accidents

There were no major industrial or transportation accidents in 2011, however, the potential for industrial accidents exists given the presence of heavy industry (chemical and metals/ manufacturing), predominantly in the south of the country.

Kidnappings

No kidnappings were reported in Luxembourg during 2011.

Drug and Narco-terrorism

While there is illegal drug use and sales in Luxembourg, the consumption and activity are primarily recreational. Luxembourg police occasionally arrest individuals or small groups for the use or transfer and sale of narcotics, but the amounts are relatively small (largest seizure noted in 2011 being 1 kilo of marijuana)

Police Response

Luxembourg law enforcement services are under the federal Minister of the Interior. The local (city) police are responsible for the day-to-day local law enforcement activities such as traffic, patrolling, and incident response. The police enforce federal laws and control specialized units such as the highway patrol, crowd and riot control, SWAT, homicide units, and organized crime units.

Judiciare (the equivalent of national level detectives) police often provide a supporting role for local police during major investigations or other actions. Luxembourg police are professional and should be viewed as an asset to a visitor in need. Many speak English. Any victim of crime should report the incident to the nearest police station and fill out a complaint. In the event there is a significant loss, the police report will often be required by the victim's insurance company as evidence of a loss. In the event your bank or credit cards are stolen, immediately block them with the issuer as they will likely be used within the first hour. The local emergency police telephone number is 112.  

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment 

Luxembourg law allows police to detain foreign nationals for a maximum of 24-hours without an arrest warrant. During this detention, the subject is permitted to contact an attorney, embassy, or consular official. U.S. citizens in need should contact the U.S. Embassy; the 24-hour number is (+352) 46-01-23.

For incidents involving police corruption, bribery, or harassment involving American citizens, the above number should also be called and the extension of the Regional Security Office asked for.

Medical Emergencies

The following medical emergency information is excerpted from the U.S. Embassy Luxembourg website:

U.S. Embassy Luxembourg assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the medical professionals, medical facilities or air ambulance services whose names appear on the following lists. 

The emergency number for ambulance, fire or police in Luxembourg is: 112.
There are four general hospitals in Luxembourg City; their emergency rooms operate on a 24-hour rotation system. The on-call emergency room is obtained by calling 112.
Note: It is possible to self refer to the emergency rooms on any weekday, opening hours are noted below.

Adult Emergency Care Contact information Emergency Room details
Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg 4 rue Barblé, L-1210, Tel: 4411-11  ER: 4411-2132, Open weekdays 08.00-17.00 
Clinique d’Eich,  78 rue d’Eich, L-1460, Tel:4411-12 ER: 4411-7240, Open weekdays 08.00-16.00 
Clinique St.Thérèse 36 rue Zithe, L-2763, Tel: 49776-1 ER: 49776-5519, Open weekdays 07.00-19.00 
Hôpital Kirchberg 9 rue Edward Steichen, L-2540, Tel:2468-1 ER: 2468-5600, Weekdays with appointment 

Obstetric Emergency Care  
Clinique Privée du Dr E. Bohler 5 rue Edward Steichen, L-2540, Tel:26333-1 Obstetric ER: 26333-9110, 24/24 and 7/7 
Maternité Grand Duchesse Charlotte 120 route d’Arlon, L-1150 Obstetric ER: 4411-3202, 24/24 and 7/7 

Pediatric Emergency Care  
Clinique Pediatrique (Kannerklinik), Children aged 0–15 years, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, 2 rue Pierre Federspiel, L-1512 ER: 4411-3133, 24/24 and 7/7 
Policlinique Pediatrique, Children aged 0-14 years, Hôpital Kirchberg, 9 rue Edward Steichen, L-2540 ER: 2468-5540, Daily 08.00-22.00 

Burn & Poison Centers
In an emergency, contact the on-call casualty department: 112
Check www.poison.org for general advice.
Poison Help: 1-800-222-1222 (U.S.A.) or 202-625-3333
Center Anti-Poison (in Belgium)
Centre ‘Anti-Poison’, Bruynstraat 1, B-1120 Brussels, 0032 70 245 245 
Burn victims are MEDEVACed by local authorities. Serious burns are transferred immediately to Brussels, Nancy or Strasbourg.

Pharmacies 
All prescription drugs are provided by the pharmacy; not immediately available medication can usually be ordered within 24-hours. A doctor’s prescription is sometimes necessary for drugs that are sold over the counter in the United States. Pharmacists are very helpful and can suggest many over the counter medications for minor problems. www.pharmacie.lu indicates addresses of pharmacies throughout the country and the on call pharmacy for nights and weekends, which is also listed daily in the local newspaper or can be determined by calling 112. 

Educational Assessment & Support
Dyspel is a Dyslexia and Special Educational Needs group. It holds regular meetings, workshops and offers a resource library and support network. Composed of parents, special needs teachers, concerned professionals, teachers and a special needs consultant, the group works to raise awareness and offers practical assistance to families. www.dyspel.org 

Centre Tomatis specializes in helping children with learning difficulties, behavioral problems, motoric and psychological troubles. 
Tomatis Institute Luxembourg S.A.
6, rue de Wecker
L-6795 Grevenmacher
Tel. +352 26 27 07 30
Fax. +352 26 27 07 31
www.tomatis.lu  

The following link is the Luxembourg Ministry of Health public website for further information: http://www.sante.public.lu/fr/systeme-sante/services-urgence-garde/hors-urgence/index.html

Air Ambulance Services 

LAR is an air rescue and medical repatriation company operating internal and international flights. It offers a world wide repatriation service and a 24 hours/365 days call out. 175a rue de Cessange, L-1321 Luxembourg, www.air-rescue.lu, info@lar.lu, LAR hotline: 48 90 06

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Luxembourg has an extensive public transportation network, consisting of buses and trains. Crowded transportation hubs, such as the Luxembourg Gare (train station), are known for pickpockets. Restaurants and bars around tourist sites, such as the City Center, are also popular with pickpockets. Visitors should be particularly alert when in these transportation hubs or tourist sites and maintain direct control over luggage or other property. Be alert to individuals blocking your movement by dropping objects and then clumsily trying to pick them up, standing in a metro door, or stopping on a stairway. Such actions could be a prelude to someone else bumping into you from behind and stealing a wallet or purse. When in restaurants bags/purses should not be hung over a chair behind the occupant, instead place it under the table between your feet. Similarly, at check-counters or cashiers, never set bags/purses on the ground while conducting business. 

It is advisable not to carry large amounts of cash. When using ATMs, visitors should be cautious. Users must be careful to ensure "shoulder surfers" are not peering at the keypad when entering pin numbers. A new twist to ATM theft is the surface mounted scanner, which is a card reader disguised as part of the legitimate card slot. It retrieves card related information, which can then be duplicated for further unauthorized withdrawals. If an ATM retains your card immediately call the issuer to put a stop on the card. Credit and bank cards are accepted in most restaurants, stores, and gas stations. To avoid credit card theft or duplicate billing, it is important to maintain control of the card. This type of fraud is becoming more common as portable credit/debit card machines come into more frequent use.

Areas to be Avoided 

The only area in Luxembourg City for American citizens to consider avoiding is the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the train station (The Gare). While it is not off-limits to U.S. government personnel, it is a relatively high crime area, known for strip clubs, prostitution, and the proliferation of illegal drugs. Typical crimes perpetrated in such areas include muggings, robberies, and assaults. While not frequent, these crimes do occur in this area.

Further Information

Country code:  352

Embassy Contact Numbers

U.S. Embassy telephone operator: (352) 46-01-23
Regional Security Office: (352) 46-01-23 x2247
Marine Post One: (352) 46-01-23 x2221
U.S. Consulate - American Citizen Services: (352) 46-01-23 x2227
Office of Political Affairs: (352) 46-01-23 x2121

OSAC Country Council

Post is currently developing a Country Council. POC for all OSAC matters is RSO Mark Typinski, TypinskiMT@state.gov.