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Safety & Security in Germany

The question of personal safety is often one of the first to pop up in the minds of expats-to-be. This is of course not too surprising – after all, you are going to move to a country you might not be familiar with in detail, or know only from short trips.

When it comes to expat life in Germany, you can rest assured that you will probably not experience any problems or witness (or even be the victim of) any crime. Obviously, every city and every neighborhood are different, and broad generalizations may not reflect your personal experience or your feelings of safety. However, as a whole, Germany is a country with a low crime rate, and an even lower one if you are only looking at violent crimes.

Crime

In fact, the single most widespread crime in Germany is theft. Particularly those among you who are passionate cyclists and plan on riding your bike regularly should probably shop around for a good, sturdy bike lock. Not only in university towns, bikes are popular and rather easy to get ‘souvenirs’, so you might want to take care of yours particularly well. However, do not wander around carelessly, as every German city does have its seedy and less than safe parts as well. You should, however, be alright if you just rely on common sense. If you ever should get into an accident or become the victim of crime, Germany’s ambulance services and police force are usually quick to react. Both can be reached free of charge from any cell phone and phone booth.

Prejudice

A problem that might be more of a pressing issue than crime for a larger number of expats in Germany is prejudice in its various forms. While Germany in general and the large expat magnets in particular do their best to be cosmopolitan, there are always some less enlightened individuals to be found. Discrimination on racial, religious, or sexual grounds is sadly still a very widespread issue in Germany. While chances are that as an expat, you will not be systematically discriminated against by your German coworkers or bosses, it is advisable to come prepared and get an overview of the different ways and intensities prejudices in Germany can take the form of active or passive discrimination.

InterNations Expat Magazine