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Moscow - Crime & Safety
Because of the high number of tourists visiting the central area of the city, particularly in the area surrounding Red Square and the Kremlin, central Moscow remains the area where crime is most frequent.
Incidence of vehicle burglaries has also risen in recent years. If you are driving or renting a car in Moscow, it is advisable to keep the vehicle in a parking garage or paid parking facility, as the majority of burglaries involve vehicles that are parked on the street.
Attacks on minorities have risen by 28 percent in 2008, largely perpetrated by young Russian ultra nationalists who profess a sentiment of "Russia is for Russians".
There are several common scams that expatriates should know about when living in and moving about the city. One of the most frequent scams is referred to as the “turkey roll". In this scam, one accomplice drops a roll of coins in a conspicuous place, usually a sidewalk. A second accomplice then either waits for you to pick up the roll of coins, or picks up the roll and offers to split it with you. At this point, the first accomplice returns, and accuses you and the second accomplice of stealing the money. You will then be urged to get out your wallet to prove you didn't take the money. The first accomplice will "examine" your visa, while surreptitiously extracting bills from your wallet.
Another common setup occurs in bars and cafes, and involves the placement of scopolamine or rohypnol in the drinks of victims. When the victims are incapacitated by the drugs, they are robbed of their valuables.
A third crime perpetrated against expatriates involves robbers masking as taxi drivers. Because checkered taxis are rare in many areas of the city, the use of unmarked taxis is commonplace, making it easy for robbers to commit this crime. When you hail an unmarked taxi and get in the car, you are then threatened with injury or death is you do not give your money or other valuables to the driver. Intoxicated persons, expatriates traveling alone, and late night pedestrians are particularly attractive victims for robbers perpetrating this crime.
If you have been the victim of a crime, dial 02 to reach the Moscow Militsia (police). Keep in mind, though, that only Russian is spoken. If you have been injured or are in danger of serious physical harm, call the Moscow Rescue Force at 937-9911. This number is similar to 911 in the United States. Again, the operators only speak Russian, so it's critical that you know at least enough Russian phrases to communicate your situation and location in the event of an emergency.