As tourists return, so do thieves: Post-pandemic crime rates surge in Czechia

Czech police reports the return of criminal activities to pre-Covid levels as travel restrictions are limited. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.04.2022 11:15:00 (updated on 29.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

As life in the Czech Republic returns to normal, so do the crime rates. 

In the first three months of the year, 11,000 more crimes were committed in the Czech Republic than last year in the first quarter, writes While in 2021 the police registered 35,690 crimes at the end of March, in the comparable period this year, there were already 46,940.

During the state of emergency, there was a drop in nearly all forms of criminal activities, though the biggest drop was in criminal acts connected with the outdoor movement of people.

"We consider the current anti-pandemic measures, the societal decline due to the spread of Covid-19, and the associated reduced movement of the Czech population to be a key factor," said Ondřej Moravčík, the spokesman of the Police Presidium.

Czech police offer a few basic tips to help you foil pickpockets

  • A wallet, cell phone, or bundle of banknotes simply do not belong in the back pocket. Use a chest pocket or put things in a bag.
  • Keep bags or purses zipped or snapped closed. Open bags are easy to remove items from.
  • Always keep your bag with you. Definitely do not leave it anywhere, especially when shopping. Bags stored in shopping carts are an incredible attraction for pickpockets.
  • Be careful when loading purchased items into the vehicle.

The end of anti-Covid measures has meant the return of traditional forms of crime. In Prague in particular, the police report an increase in petty crimes, which people encounter most often.

"For example, in hotels where tourists have returned, we have more frequent reports of thefts. There are also more pickpockets in Prague," said a high-ranking source from the judiciary on condition of anonymity. 

While last March the police recorded only 1,094 thefts, there were already 2,197 at the end of March this year. 

The tourist crowds, which returned to Prague after the lift of the travel restriction ban, are a tempting target for criminals. 

"Many thefts in Prague are related to tourism. The victims are often foreigners. As tourism revives, the number of thefts will return to 2019 levels," said Jakub Holas, head of the research group at the Institute for Criminology and Social Prevention. This is despite the fact that some tourists, namely from Russia and China, will probably not return. 

Even higher crime rates are expected in the coming summer tourist season.

Moravčík says police are bracing for all kinds of crime. "Training of existing police officers and criminal investigators is underway, taking into account new trends," he reports.

The police are also preparing awareness campaigns that can contribute to greater prevention.

In recent years, techniques used by pickpockets have become more sophisticated. They work in smaller groups and blend in with the crowd.

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