England has a low incidence of violent crime. However, petty crime, mostly in urban areas, is on the rise, and tourists can be the targets. Use common sense: when in a city center, if you're paying at a shop or a restaurant, never put your wallet down or let your bag out of your hand. When sitting on a chair in a public place, keep your purse on your lap or between your feet. Don't wear expensive jewelry or watches, and don't flash fancy smart phones outside Tube stations, where there have been some thefts. Store your passport in the hotel safe, and keep a copy with you. Don't leave anything in your car.
Although scams do occur in Britain, they aren’t pervasive. If you're getting money out of an ATM, beware of someone bumping into you to distract you. You may want to use ATMs inside banks rather than those outside them. In London scams are most common at ATMs on Oxford Street and around Piccadilly Circus. Watch out for pickpockets, particularly in London. They often work in pairs, one distracting you in some way.
Always take a licensed black taxi or call a car service (sometimes called minicabs) recommended by your hotel. Avoid drivers who approach you on the street, as in most cases they’ll overcharge you. Always buy theater tickets from a reputable dealer. If you’re driving in from a British port, beware of thieves posing as customs officials who try to "confiscate illegal goods."
While traveling, don't leave any bags unattended, as they may be viewed as a security risk and destroyed by the authorities. If you see an unattended bag on the train, bus, or Tube, find a worker and report it. Never hesitate to get off a Tube, train, or bus if you feel unsafe.
Distribute your cash, credit cards, IDs, and other valuables between a deep front pocket, an inside jacket or vest pocket, and a hidden money pouch. Don't reach for the money pouch once you're in public.
General Information and Warnings
Transportation Security Administration (866/289–9673. www.tsa.gov.)
U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (0207/270–1500. www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.)
U.S. Department of State (202/501–4444 overseas emergency line. www.travel.state.gov.)
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