detroitflyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 394 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5204 times:
Planning on going on a trip to Europe with some friends. We are strapped for cash, so we might end up staying in hostels/hotels in seedy neighborhoods. Coming from Detroit, we know how to handle our own. But how is violent crime out in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Frankfurt there compared to Detroit or say south Chicago or other bad US neighborhoods?
Just about anything dwindles in comparision. Detroit is supposed to be pretty rough, but you would know that. I feel safe travelling abroad, I even travelled the streets of Cairo at night without feeling unsafe, so I think you would be ok, just use common sense. And watch your pockets
UAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5176 times:
How many times have you been victimized in Detroit divided by the number of weeks you've been there, vs. the number of weeks you'll be in Europe.......and with that I say, is this thread really necessary?
Ltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13842 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5137 times:
First of all, stay out of seedy areas of any city. I am quite sure with some care you can find an appropiate and affordable hostel in a decent neighborhood.
In my past experiences traveling all over Europe and other places (including the USA), if you look like a tourist, you are more likely to get targeted by thieves. Use common sense, just like you would at home. Dress more like locals to fit in - ie: don't wear something 'American' like a shirt with a USA college name, sports team, etc.. Keep your eyes open and look around, not just ahead of you or up. Don't use 'recreational' drugs or drink to excess. Keep your money and papers secure, have some 'mugger money' on you (like = $20). Don't show off your camera/phone/computer/money. One big difference is thieves will be unlikely to have a gun on them and if have a weapon, it will more likely be a knife. Of course a knife can be as deadly as a gun in close quarters but there are some advantages. If ever in an area don't like, move quickly but not bringing attention to a well lighted and moderately crowded area or where cops/local security is posted.
Lufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5100 times:
Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter): But how is violent crime out in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Frankfurt there compared to Detroit or say south Chicago or other bad US neighborhoods?
The seedy neighbourhoods of Europe are nothing compared to the seedy neighbourhoods of the US, with only a few exceptions such as Wally Range in Manchester. Honestly, seedy areas are not the problem in most European cities, the tourist zones are, especially tourist zones that are also seedy neighbourhoods. (The red light district in Paris and Amsterdam come to mind) There is no real violent crime in most major European cities like the US, instead most crime is in the form of pickpockets. Sounds a bit racist, but watch out for gypsies and other groups that will ask you a question like "do you speak English" while another member of the group takes your wallet or something else. Many will also replace what is in your pocket with something else to make it feel the same, so just watch out.
I have been in the same position as you, staying in the seedy areas of town to make money go further, and as long as you are smart about things, you will be fine. Walk like a local, and you will be treated like one. Walk like a confused little bunny rabbit, and you will be taken advantage of.
Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
Mudboy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1167 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5044 times:
The theives are the same in Europe, just more polite and a less intimidating accent.
Situational awareness is the key, and do not put yourself in a bad situation. Idk, but I guess I have an eye, for when someone is trying to size me up? When my Girlfriend and I travel abroad or in the US, we always have a code word we use. If I see someone is trying to size us up, or engage us in a convo, I will say, "we better hurry babe, we are already late", and she knows it is time to roll.
The key is, walk with a purpose like you know where you are going and what you are doing. If you are wondering around as if you are lost, you make yourself a target. And, if kids come runnin up to you, asking if you speak English, just say," No English", with an accent of course, mine changes depending where I am
And yes, stay away from the Gypsy families, they are pros.
Violent crime is very much more the exception than the rule. Pickpocketing is more common, and these guys are professionals, so be wary of anyone approaching you looking for the time, directions or any information and then engaging you in conversation or attempting to make any sort of contact with you or your clothing, however minor. Back off straight away, and shout at them if necessary. They'll retreat immediately and move on to the next person.
Having been around most of the major European cities over the last couple of years we've had no problems in most of them -- including ones with dodgy reputations such as Marseilles. Even wandering around city centres at all hours of the night, sometimes alone, caused no problems. In our expericece, Spain is by far the worst (probably due to high unemployment) and we've lost count of the time we were targeted, with Madrid being as bad as, if not worse, than Barcelona.
You have to take the usual precautions though: I don't understand why people going abroad want to look as though they are worth robbing. Older casual clothes are more comfortable, and there's no need whatsoever to wear jewellery, or expensive watches. I always wear a cheap watch on trips abroad, and never carry a wallet.
falstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6421 posts, RR: 29
Reply 8, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4923 times:
I see you live in Novi and that is not exactly rough. I didn't know you even had shady people in Novi. Down here in Taylor we get all kinds of derelects. Have you ever spent any time in the roughest areas of Detroit; not just passing through on the way to a concert or something?
Start by spending the night in a crummy motel on Michigan Avenue in Inkster. If that doesn't bug you move down the road to Michigan and Wyoming, in Detroit. Then go stay at the Milner downtown. If you can handle those places then you can handle anything those European cities will throw at you.
Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 7): Violent crime is very much more the exception than the rule
That is very true. Most violent crime, even in Detroit, happens between people who know each other and or people in the drug trade.
Quoting Mudboy (Reply 6): And yes, stay away from the Gypsy families, they are pros.
You have to watch out for them here too, they love to rip people off on home improvement scams.
Quoting Mudboy (Reply 6): The key is, walk with a purpose like you know where you are going and what you are doing
I have had obvious tourists walk up to me and ask directions on many occasions in the US and abroad. They are usually amazed I am not a local. I usually travel alone so that may have something to do with it, as not all that many people travel alone.
One great thing about a.net and other enthusiast groups is that you have the chance to meet people from places other than where you live. I have traveled in Europe, Canada, and the USA meeting up and staying with friends I have met on a.net and in my other hobbies (brewery memorabilia and trains). Traveling abroad with locals is the best way to go. Next month I am going to the UK and will be staying with a friend I met when I was there in 08. He and I have a week of vintage trains to check out and a steam tractor show. A lot of the things we will see are obscure and without being local it would have been hard to find out about them. I have traveled all over Germany with brewery collectible friends and next year will go to Switzerland. Make the most of the friends you meet online and always return the favor by allowing them to stay at your home. You can save a lot of money by staying with friends and they can save a lot of money by staying with you.
MingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4901 times:
Another thing to remember about staying in European cities is that we have a lot more public transport.
So, compared to the US, it is more feasible to stay in a nice area that is cheap but a little out of town rather than a cheaper area closer to the centre of the city. You will of course need to check out that the transport is convenient from there and that it runs late enough to get back.
Another good option which I know exists in the UK (although I'm not so sure about other countries) is too look at student accommodation. Many universities have halls of residence that are not occupied by the students during the summer and so they rent them out to visitors. For example:
GST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 942 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4889 times:
Read up on the places you are going, the dodgy areas are usually well published. For example, in Amsterdam the area around the main train station is a pickpocket danger zone. And another reason to advocate reading the guidebooks and web is that the the cheapest place I found in Amsterdam was not actually a hostel in the normal dorm type sense, but a converted barge 20 mins walk from the city, and you got a secure 2 bunk cabin & breakfast for the price of one bed in a hostel dorm without food.
MingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4874 times:
I also find its a good idea just to read up a little on the culture and etiquette when visiting a country. In most cases it doesn't really matter, but its surprising well just making a little effort goes down with people.
This is a fairly good site which covers most places:
Of course the rules are completely different in different place. Don't leave plate on your food in the Netherlands, it's considered wasteful. Leave food on your plate in Thailand otherwise by eating it all you are implying that your host didn't give you enough !
falstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6421 posts, RR: 29
Reply 15, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4798 times:
Quoting MingToo (Reply 14): I also find its a good idea just to read up a little on the culture and etiquette when visiting a country
That can vary greatly even within a country. I have found some of the seedier areas of Europe have a lot of Muslims. The For example the Muslim population in a city like Bradford, England has a lot different culture than the small town of Thortenn Le Dale, where I visit.
The same could be said about the USA. The culture of the city of Detroit is different than it is in Trenton, just a 20 miles away. I teach in Trenton now and culture of the students is far different than when I taught in Detroit.
Quoting MingToo (Reply 14): but its surprising well just making a little effort goes down with people.
I tend to find out where the right wing and other conservative types hang out and go to those places. Contrary to popular belief there are plenty of people like me in Europe. A couple of years ago a buddy and I were in the UK and one of the bars we went to was filled with rednecks like us. The locals were thrilled to meet Americans who weren't back packers, greens or liberals. They bought us so many beers I could hardly walk back to the hotel. I have had similar expierences in Germany and the Czech Republic. The reason I bring that up is becuase a lot of young Americans think that everyone in Europe is some sort of socialist or progressive, which is far from the truth. It is best to keep ones political opinions to oneself until you know you are around like minded people. The retired coal miners in that bar thought my buddy and I were great, but if we would have come in and started talking green stuff and social liberalism we would have had our asses kicked. I have been in bars in Berlin where if I spouted off my rightest views I would have had my ass kicked, but back in Halle I was good to go.
Quoting MingToo (Reply 14): Leave food on your plate in Thailand otherwise by eating it all you are implying that your host didn't give you enough !
I'll be screwed if I go there. I like to clean my plate!
Quoting GST (Reply 12): Read up on the places you are going,
I have often thought of writing a book called " A redneck's guide to European travel". I have already found a lot of off the beaten path small towns that good ole' boys will enjoy.
einsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 4784 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4789 times:
Let's look at it this way: some US states have far more rate crimes. I went to Europe and the only danger I was really aware of was pickpockets. Other than that, there was no danger at all (well, in London there was a bit of a scene where a group of people vandalized the Holiday Inn in front of our Travelodge and then took refuge inside). The obvious of course: stay away from suspicious areas, try not to travel alone especially at night, and try to not stand out so much.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
MingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4731 times:
Quoting falstaff (Reply 15): I'll be screwed if I go there. I like to clean my plate!
Well these sort of rules only tend to hold as a guest in someone's home anyway, they really aren't relevant in restaurants.
In Thailand just eat at one of the great street restaurants and budget $10 even in a tourist area ... that will get you something like Pad Thai noodles to start, 2 main courses with rice and a couple of beers. You'll be doing well to clean all those plates.
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7992 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4699 times:
Quoting falstaff (Reply 18): I like eastern Germany. It reminds me of the rust belt. I feel at home there.
When I hear "Frankfurt" I think of Frankfurt am Main which isn't exactly eastern Gemany. Frankfurt (Oder), a small city with some 60,000 souls close to the polish border, is but that's basically a collection of high-rise uniformly bland apartment buildings. You can see those in Leipzig, Dresden or Berlin as well but can have Leipzig, Dresden or Berlin with that.
Frankfurt am Main (FRA) is Germany's financial capital and pretty much bland in its own way, although (and as opposed to Frankfurt (Oder)) there are some nice spots such as Sachsenhausen (and I don't mean the former concentration camp).
JL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4639 times:
I think you'll have good time in Europe, violent crimes are less common than in the US as many other a.netters have so far pointed out. I'd love to give some small tips, regarding:
- Amsterdam: I got nearly robbed in the Red Light district, I can't remember where exactly because, well, I bet you know why. My only luck was the so-called thieves were more stoned than I was.
- Frankfurt: came there as a lad, and never got back. moreover my stay was quite short. However, I remember some epic fights at the Central stations, groups of punks against DB people. Quite scary I must admit but, that aside, the biggest danger in FRA is to be run over by somebody burning the lights.
- Paris: the Champs-élysées after midnight can be tricky, or whenever a big event is happening, like a march of people on strike. Yobbos love those moments, I've seen some attacking passer-bies. I have heard bad stories about most peripheral RER stations, but everyone I've been into was immaculate and guarded by police. Actually, the bit of banlieue I've seen - Val-de-Marne mostly - wasn't that bad looking at all.
: You spend your vacations in golf club bars and church? Cheers Mats
: Sure there are all types of everything in most countries. The out of tourist areas are often the most eye opening. I use common sense in every countr
: Yep.... Plus hanging around in sad bars with lots of rednecks.
: I don't know when you were in Frankfurt, but those fights sound like 1990s stuff, when the "Bahnhofsviertel" was a lot seedier than today. Today, mos
: I've heard of just too many stories of pickpockets in Italy, and in fact just last week there was a pretty serious case of breaking in in Italy involv
: Take a Glock with you, and you'll be just fine Only joking of course
: I wish I could. Those street punks with knives in the UK should get what they deserve. Pull a knife on somebody in Detroit you'll likely end up with
: Unfortunately many of those street punks are teenagers, maybe even 10, 11 years old or younger, and many who get caught are released with almost no p
: late Nineties indeed. I was touring Eastern Germany (starting from FRA which isn't Ost Deustchland at all, but you have to start from somewhere I gue
: The A66 between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden is kind of a divider, southwards to the river Main it's hell, northwards to the Taunus mountains its heaven.
: Rap music sucks and it has ruined a generation of young people. I always got a kick out of how kids from nice areas think the ghetto is a load of fun
: falstaff, you wrote about kids living in wealthy families playing the gangstas, didn't you? The difference with what I was talking about is that young
: I have yet to meet a single Dutchman who will feel offended if you don't clear your plate...
: The real problem is not the weapon, but the total lack of morality. Murdering people is wrong and is already against the law. When there is no respec
: I've travelled across most of Europe and stayed in many hostels. Never ever had a problem with theft or violence. As a tourist you can't afford to be
: I've visited Novi eight times in the past year to visit my girlfriend and never once felt unsafe in any part of Novi. Novi is a very "well-off" city
: I DON'T LIKE the suggest delete button because I think things should be discussed openly. But mods, how long would these replies have lasted if they
: PC gone mad. It's decent advice, there's no point beating around the bush.
: You got mugged by black people in America? And you think that is because of their race? I don't think that's what you mean...But still I call BS. If
: The skinhead problem and all the violence associated with it is really bad in Eastern Europe. I encountered a few on my brief stay in Moscow. I don't
: Can't say i've done it myself, but i had a friend who did a year long round the world trip and he told me the hostels were often better in these coun
: I would imagine the hostels would be nicer in Latin America and Asia over Europe. You'll find interesting people in hostels no matter what country yo
: Yeah, he mentioned Cambodia/Vietnam were the only 2 places he stayed at a hotel, and the reason was he had a huge room with Sky TV and all the trimmin
: WOW! I need ot make it over to Cambodia and Vietnam. That is sweet!
: I just spoke to him on MSN and he said it was Laos and Cambodia that had really cheap hotels. Vietnam was "moderately" expensive ($10 a night for a ho
: Speaking of gypsies or groups of begging kids... It's useless to give them money thinking you're helping them. They get beaten every day no matte how
: I find it discouraging that your feeling of safety is in direct correlation "visible immigrants". Cheers Mats