Want to visit Belarus but feel slightly concerned about how safe the place is? Don’t worry, we came up with a small guide on what to expect when in ‘Europe’s last dictatorship‘.
Why do you even ask?
Is Belarus violent and insecure? This is one of the first questions that comes to mind of foreigners planning a trip to almost every post-Soviet country.
Unfortunately, Belarus is no exception. How come that our country got such an unflattering reputation?
All we can think of is rumors that make people believe Belarus is a dangerous, police state, where a foreigner will most likely to be hassled and spied upon.
For thrill lovers who still want to believe they can visit North Korea in the very heart of Europe, our guide on how to enjoy dictatorship in Belarus to the fullest will be of use.
Police are everywhere
Although the police presence on the streets of the cities is barely noticeable, there are 405 police officers per 100,000 civilians in Belarus. Comparing that to the global median of 300 police officers per 100,000 inhabitants provided by the UN (which might be a bit outdated), one can infer that Belarus is a police state.
So if anything, knock on wood, happens – you will be safe.
Those who have been in Russia and Moscow, in particular, know that officers there often stop locals and foreigners alike, asking for their documents. Well, that rarely happens in Belarus.
At most, you will come across a couple of police patrols in the center of the city or you are so unlucky you find yourself in the middle of the rally.
Lonely Planet writes that the police in Belarus are downright friendly, in fact, although they will not hesitate to ticket you for the pettiest of crimes – jaywalking for instance.
For years Belarus was named one of the safest countries in the world with the lowest crime rate and a high safety and security level.
Last year the country ranked 10th out of a total of 125 countries in the Crime Index for Country 2017 compiled by Numbeo.
In Eastern Europe, Belarus also holds the title of the most secure state with the lowest crime and highest safety indices.
Belarus Ministry of the Interior backs the info, an impressive regress was recorded in the number of crimes over the years. Official statistics show crime rate keeps falling for ten years straight.
The number of murders and attempted murders decreased by 29.4%, thefts fell by 11.9%, robberies – by 18.3%, the number of frauds – by 13.8%.
The fight against drugs and the tightening of legislation decreased the number of drug-related crimes by 15.1% and illicit drug trafficking by 16.1%.
In Belarus, there are no ghettos or areas you’d better avoid, no terrorist attacks, and almost no large-scale rallies.
Crimes against travelers are rare, the biggest threat here is pickpocketing, particularly on public transport or popular tourist spots.
Any advice? Well, use common sense and normal precautions. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation don’t be a hero, call police by dialing 102. Be safe and enjoy your trip!