“Better safe than sorry!” This saying may be applied to visiting any country, including Croatia. Are tourists safe in Croatia? Is Split totally safe to walk at night, or you may want to take some precautions anyway?
- Croatia is one of the safest counties in the world
- Split is considered to be a relatively safe place
- Nonetheless, on average, one out of 4,000 tourists gets attacked in Split, mostly at night
- By following some simple steps, you can increase your feeling of safety in Split
Croatia Is One Of The Safest Countries In The World
Global Finance has made a list of the safest countries in the world in 2019.
Factors that influenced the ranking on this list are: War and Peace, personal safety and the risk of natural disasters.
The most insecure country in the world is the Philippines, followed by Yemen.
At the top of the list are mostly European countries. The first is, somewhat surprisingly, Iceland, followed by Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Austria, Norway …
Of the non-European countries, Qatar, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada are among the top 20.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is 56th, Serbia 58th, while Slovenia, Croatia’s western neighbour, ranks high 12th.
The United Kingdom ranks 38th, United States ranks 65th (because of the high homicide rate), and the only two European countries behind the United States are Russia and Ukraine.
The full list can be found here.
Safety In Split
Although Split is second largest city in Croatia, it still has an appearance of a small place, even a village.
The specially designed shutters allow the remaining inhabitants of Split Old Town to keep an eye on the street without being seen.
This system surpasses even the recently introduced video surveillance because it has automatic face recognition.
However (Another Word For “But”)
Croatian public has been shocked by occasional reports of physical violence in Split, including street shootings, murders and even assaults on tourists.
The authorities assure us that this is to be expected with the rise of tourism and the number of people visiting Croatia. Statistically, it’s still not too significant. Apparently, it seems that it’s only 1 in 4,000 tourists end up as victims of a criminal activity in Croatia.
Some of the perpetrators were actually foreigners, especially the pickpockets and other thieves.
Nevertheless, it’s hard not to notice some recent events.
Here are some disturbing excerpts from local newspapers:
Tonight between midnight and one o’clock, an unknown bully broke the nose of a 20-year-old British citizen in a cafe in the Split Ghetto (Old City). Police are conducting a criminal investigation and are looking for the perpetrator.
As we have learned from the Split-Dalmatia Police Department, there was a verbal and then a physical conflict in a restaurant in Kružićeva Street, in which a 20-year-old British citizen suffered a severe bodily injury in form of nasal fracture. The girl was in the company of another Briton, and it is still being determined if the bully was alone.
As the cafe where the incident took place has a surveillance camera, we believe that it will be easier for the police to establish all the facts. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the First Police Station.Split, 21 October 2019, local newspaper
And now probably the most shocking reports:
Witness to the brutal attack on blacks in Split: “They beat them hard“
Dark-skinned tourists from France were attacked in SPLIT on Sunday night.
Hooligans in black T-shirts shouted at tourists, calling them “monkeys” and running after them.
As a reader informed us, she and her partner were sitting on the terrace of the restaurant when they saw “a black-skinned boy running with some friends”, followed by “a dozen men in black T-shirts”. Those in black T-shirts shouted at these guys that they were “monkeys” and threw bottles at them, said our reader who saw it all.
The police confirmed for Index that at around 11 pm on Sunday in Dražanac Street there was a disturbance of public order and peace in a way that several unknown male persons attacked several foreign citizens.
Witness to the attack: “I can’t describe it, they hit them with whatever they could get their hands on“.Split, 9 August 2019, Jutranji list
It appears that 2019 was a particularly brutal year, unprecedented in Split. But in 2020, despite the COVID-19 crisis and the number of tourists being significantly lower than before, there was another incident in Split.
The inefficient and possibly corrupt legal system in Croatia makes very few, if any, influential perpetrators end up behind bars. Sometimes even drug dealers get away with it.
The political scene in Croatia is flooded with corruption scandals. Yet, most culprits never get persecuted.
This increases the feeling of frustration, which sometimes leads to escalation of criminal activities.
Enjoying Split In Safety
Of course, nobody can promise neither a utopian society nor a perfectly safe vacation.
Although Croatia is still much safer than, say, England or Greece or Italy, bad things can happen.
If you’re really concerned about being as safe as possible, here are some tips:
- Since most assaults might happen at night, it could be a good idea to return to your hotel or apartment at reasonable time. Since most restaurants, cafes and even supermarkets work late in summer (for example, supermarkets are open till midnight), you have more time to enjoy the beautiful Dalmatian nights.
- Try to be in a group. The more, the merrier.
- Avoid confrontation with locals. Discussing football (soccer) or wearing symbols of a foreign football club (especially Serbian) may be especially dangerous and seen as a provocation. Be super careful if there was a football match in Split.
- Pickpockets have been a huge problem lately. Always take extra precautions and watch for strange people approaching your group, pretending to be interested in the tour.
- Use your common sense. If you see something suspicious, go away.
- A whistle: This can help scare off attackers and or draw attention to yourself.
- Pepper spray or Mace: When all else fails, this can help you get away from a dangerous situation.
- Smartphone: This helps you stay in touch with loved ones and call for help, if needed. Don’t switch off your phone because it’s expensive. In emergency situations, dial 112.
Despite all I wrote, I still believe Split, and Dalmatia in general, to be relatively safe, even at night.
If you chose a holiday home on some of the islands, like the island of Čiovo, or any little village along the Adriatic coastline, you may experience a truly peaceful and serene vacation.