British insurer: Czech Republic pick-pocketing capital of the world

11-07-2006

The leading British insurance company Norwich Union has carried out a survey of theft and personal safety in various holiday destinations around the globe. It doesn't make very positive reading for the Czech authorities: according to Norwich Union, you're more likely to have your pocket picked in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the world. Dawn McMullan is the company's travel project manager:

"We've done a survey of around 60,000 travel insurance claims that were filed by Norwich Union customers, and from that we've found some quite interesting things. The Czech Republic actually came number one for pick-pocketing. In second place was Thailand. You're actually twice as likely to be pick-pocketed in the Czech Republic than Thailand."

Are we talking about the whole of the country or just Prague?

"It is the whole of the country, but the majority of British holidaymakers will be visiting Prague. Prague's extremely popular with British holidaymakers for hen and stag breaks away, so whenever people are away in those type of holidays they're taking far less care than normal, and so would be targets for pickpockets."

What are you advising British tourists to do? What sort of precautions should they be taking when they come and visit the Czech Republic?

"What we'd advise people to do is be aware of their personal safety at all times, to keep valuables out of sight, and if they can leave them in the safety deposit at the hotel. And also to take extra care in busy areas such as tourist attractions such as Charles Bridge and on public transport."

I suppose surveys like this are not very good advertisements for the Czech Republic are they?

"It's only pick-pocketing that the Czech Republic's come out number one in. They haven't actually featured in the top five for any other types of crime. So we're not saying it's not safe to go to. Just to take extra care."

Radio Prague did contact the Regional Development Ministry, which is responsible for tourism. However the ministry said since it hadn't seen the survey it couldn't comment.

11-07-2006