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Prague crime rate down 38 per cent since 2013, addicts behind most theft

The number of reported crimes in Prague has decreased every year since 2013, when police recorded 82,005 crimes. Last year, 50,726 crimes were reported, a drop of 38 per cent from four years earlier.

The most significant drop has been in terms of property theft and violent crime, a police spokesperson told state news agency ČTK. The most reported crimes include pickpocketing, especially in high tourist seasons, and car break-ins.

Estimates suggest that at least one-third of thefts were committed by hard-drug addicts, who need about 1,000 crowns per day to support their habits. There were an estimated 16,200 problem users of pervitin (crystal meth) and opiates in Prague last year.

Analysts: ČNB set to raise key interest rate to 1.25 per cent

The Czech National Bank will likely raise its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.25 per cent at its board meeting on Thursday, according to a poll of analysts by state news agency ČTK.

ING chief economist Jakub Seidler told the news agency there is an 80 per cent chance of a rate hike, according to market predictions.

The reasons are the unexpected weakening of the koruna, rising inflation and the tight labour market. The annual inflation rate rose to an eight-month high of 2.6 per cent in July. The unemployment rate, at 2.9 per cent, is at its lowest level in 22 years.

Czech and Slovak presidents mark Czechoslovakia's 100th anniversary by train

Czech President Miloš Zeman and his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiška will travel together today in a historic presidential train as part of ongoing events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

The heads of state will stop in Hodonín in the Czech Republic where they will place a wreath in honour of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

Later in the day, Zeman and Kiška will go to Topoľčianky in neighbouring Slovakia, the site of Masaryk’s favourite summer retreat.

Prague hoteliers note jump in Asian, Spanish tourists

Prague has seen an increase in tourists from Asia and a marked revival of visitation by Spanish tourists, up nearly 40 per cent, according to a poll of hoteliers by state news agency ČTK, which noted some face a shortage of staff.

Some 1.5 million tourists booked accommodation in Prague hotels in the first quarter of this year, a nine per cent increase in annual terms. Of them, 83 per cent were from abroad, with most tourists coming from Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom.

Techno party near Ústí draws over 3,000 people

A three-day techno party on the outskirts of Ústí nad Labem drew an estimated 3,000 people at its peak and passed without serious incident, a local police spokesperson said.

The event was held on a private meadow within a protected area, so the police presence was higher than usual. Several thefts and minor injuries were reported.

Illegal techno parties often attract thousands of participants and have on occasion led to clashes with the police.

Filming on Olympic champion Emil Zátopek biopic starts in April

Director David Ondříček will begin shooting a film about the life of Czechoslovak long-distance runner Emil Zátopek, who won three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, in April 2019. With a draft budget of over 92 million crowns, the biopic will be among the most expensive Czech films ever made. Much of it will be shot in Helsinki, adding to production costs.

This Monday marks 70 years since Zátopek, nicknamed the "Czech Locomotive", won his first Olympic gold medal, in the 10-kilometre race at the London Games. He was the first runner to break the 29-minute barrier in the 10,000-metre race. Zátopek is the only athlete in history to win gold in the 5,000-metre, 10,000-metre, and marathon in the same Olympics.

Czechs increasingly renting cottages and chalets, prices spike

Estate agents have noted increased interest in renting cottages and ski chalets, and not just in the high season but year-round, according to a survey by state news agency ČTK.

Bezrealitky.cz executive director Hendrik Meyer said the motivation to rent rather than own is not just a question of money; Czechs increasingly do not want to be tied to a single weekend retreat or holiday spot. The most desirable locations are in the mountains and near waterways, within a reasonable drive from Prague, Brno and other large cities, he said.

Fincentrum Reality's Martin Fojtík said interest in renting cottages has doubled over the past four years, and prices have risen 15 per cent year-on-year. M & M Reality's Jan Martin said demand has risen in tandem with rising concerns over security in some popular foreign destinations, such as Egypt and Tunisia.

Weather

Monday should be mostly clear in Bohemia with daytime temperatures of 30 to 34 degrees Celsius. The forecast is for cloudy skies and cooler temperatures in the eastern half of the country, with rain possible in the Moravian-Silesian region.