Berlin tourists warned of rise in theft

Berlin tourists warned of rise in theft
Photo: DPA
Tourists are being warned about a rise in pickpocketing in the German capital after the number of reported incidents climbed nearly 20 percent in the first nine months of 2011.

Areas bustling with tourists such as Alexanderplatz in the east of the city, and the area around the Zoo train station have been highlighted by the police as popular haunts for petty thieves, Berlin daily Tagesspiegel reported on Monday.

In the first nine months of 2011, the number of street thefts reported to the police hit 9,356 – a 17.5-percent increase on the previous year.

In reality this number is probably much higher, as many pickpocketing incidents go unreported. This is unsurprising, since perpetrators are almost impossible to trace – in 2011 just 3.8 percent of street robberies were solved.

Along with pickpocketing, police have reported a rise in imposter charity collectors who often target tourists or elderly people at home and ask for donations to a fabricated cause.

The Tagesspiegel reported that like street robbery, hundreds of fake charity scams go unreported every year – often due to embarrassment.

The success rate of solving household thefts was much higher, however, at 31 percent. Police figures also showed that 71 percent of the identified perpetrators were of foreign origin.

The government announced recently that it is to fund a project to help elderly people living in the capital to handle situations with strangers knocking at the door.

The Local/jcw

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