5 Aralık 2013 Perşembe

Safety In Istanbul

Travel safety is a big issue these days. So it will be wise to know all about safety tips before you arrive.

It is perfectly normal if you are planning a trip to Istanbul soon and a little bug is eating you inside about how safe this city is. Well, first of all Istanbul is rated one of the safest cities in Europe. Most travelers comment on the exceptional friendliness and hospitality of the Turkish people. Turkey is not only friendly; it's safer than Europe and North America.

But no place on earth is completely safe. Istanbul, like all big cities, requires normal precautions. Act as if you are in New York or London and don’t leave things to chance.

So here is a list of things to be careful about and some safety tips:


Although Turkey is admirably safe in most regards, street crime (pickpockets and bag-snatchers) is on the rise in the large cities, particularly in tourist areas.
Safety tips for bag-snatchers are:
• Wear your purse/bag strap across your chest if possible. If not carry it on your shoulder but don’t let it dangle down.
• Keep your bag closed at all times. Keep your bag close to you, with a hand on it.
The point here is a bag-snatcher would look for the easiest bag around. Your behavior pattern will automatically take you in or out of the target list.
• Don’t show where you put your money to strangers.
• Guard your bag, wallet, cell-phone, camera, jewelry, wrist watch, and anything else of value in any crowded place. (such as Metro, bus, tram, market, street, entrance to a place).
• Keep your bag in front of you where you can see it, not behind you. Because bag-slashers might slash your bag or pocket with a razor blade without you even seeing or feeling a thing.
• Keep an eye on the young boys without families around. That small cute boy might grab your bag while runs past you.
• Never carry your passport and plane ticket with you. Have a copy of your passport if you need to.
• Never carry more than $50 with you, there are ATMs everywhere.
• Hold your cell phone while speaking. Cell-phone theft is very common these days and it can happen anywhere in Istanbul.
• Despite all this, if your bag is snatched, it's best to scream hard. Yelling “Help!” will call bystanders to your aid.
• Do not attempt to pursue the thief, even if you think you can catch him. Bag-snatchers carry knives so it would be best to leave it to the police.


• There are lots of con-artists around the touristic areas. There are a zillion kinds of cons, so it is impossible to classify them.
• This one is the basic of safety tips: Just be on your guard for anyone who is approaching as an innocent stranger. Keep an eye on your purse, bag and valuables at all times.


Mugging (robbery by force) is rare but seen in Istanbul, especially in tourist areas. And the police are using high-tech methods like surveillance cameras, to minimize crime accordingly.
Here are some safety tips to avoid mugging;
• Travel with others if possible. Alone travelers are targeted more often.
• Use taxis instead of public transportation, especially if you're carrying luggage or packages.
• Use taxis to go to places that involve long walks after getting off the bus or tram, especially when it's dark.
• If you will be carrying packages back to your hotel, have your hotel concierge call a taxi for you. And talk to the driver to take you from an appointed place at an appointed time to get back to your hotel.

Daytime Safety Tips:

Safety tips vary depending on time and place.
• All neighborhoods are safe, even the poor ones. But avoid neighborhoods like “Tarlabaşı”, “Dolapdere” even during daytime.
• The best thing to do is to be on the streets where you see a lot of people, especially women.
• If you are not around the highly touristic areas, remember that each neighborhood has a main street where some stores are open until 21:00-22:00 in the evening; you can enter these stores and ask directions if you feel that you are lost.

Nighttime Safety Tips:

Nighttime in Istanbul has its own rules like every city. Safety tips for nighttime are;
• As a rule of thumb, avoid dark, suspicious or deserted side streets. Simple logic: There is a reason if they are deserted.
• The safest parts are Sultanahmet, Beyoglu (Pera), Taksim and European part of Bosphorus until midnight. When the people on streets and restaurants start to decrease in number after midnight, it is best to remember the first rule:
Stay away from deserted streets.
• Main roads are usually fine.
• Prefer to pick a taxi from a station if you can, instead of the ones passing by.
• Avoid Tarlabaşı, Dolapdere, Karaköy and the backstreets of Old City during nighttime.

Traffic for Pedestrians:

For most visitors to Istanbul, the most dangerous thing they will do is crossing the street depending on the traffic light. Just because the light is green, doesn't necessarily mean you should cross the street. There are other safety tips to look for;
• Check the traffic light,
• Then check if any car is rushing to catch the last millisecond of the green light,
• Check one more time,
• Be sure that every car has stopped,
• After that and only after that it is safe to cross the street.
• In Turkey the drivers don’t know why pedestrian crossings are where they are and they ignore the crossings totally.
• Drivers don’t even slow down at a pedestrian crossing and they tend to be angry if you try to cross. Turkish people rarely use them because it simply doesn’t work that way. Instead we prefer to take our chances wherever it looks convenient for us to cross.
• Don’t make the mistake that drivers will give you way when you attempt to cross the street, you have to fight for that!

War or Terrorism:

• If you're worried about war or terrorism, don’t be. 

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