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Safety and Emergencies for Expats in Germany

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: September 2013


Germany is generally a very safe country. Regarding natural disasters, storms and floods occur as in most countries, but Germany is not especially afflicted by any other type of natural phenomenon.

Though there have not been any recent terrorist incidents in Germany, the threat from terrorism is deemed to be moderate to high. Security is heightened in major German train stations and airports. It is prudent to be vigilant in such areas and report any suspicious activity. There are also demonstrations in Germany, which do sometimes turn violent and should therefore be avoided. It is important to stay aware of such incidents using the media.

Germany’s crime rate is low. The rate of homicide in particular is lower than that of other Western countries, and much lower than the world average. Walking the streets during the day is mostly safe, and you are very unlikely to experience any trouble in most parts of the country. Though incidents are still rare, it is advisable not to take unnecessary risks at night, such as going on public transport alone, especially for women.

Unfortunately, there is a certain degree of racism present in Eastern Germany. In Eastern states, you may be harassed or made to feel uncomfortable especially if you are non-white or otherwise look ‘foreign.’ There is also some possibility that you will encounter football hooligans, whose presence and violent behaviour is a growing menace in some German cities. There is also a higher risk of violence or anti-social behaviour during the Oktoberfest in Munich, which runs from late September to early October. Note that outside this time, Munich is statistically the safest German city.

Petty crime is still a problem, and is particularly bad in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital. You are most likely to be pick-pocketed or fall victim to other forms of theft in crowded areas and on public transport such as the U-Bahn, and also at the popular Christmas markets). Robbery and aggravated theft are, however, very rare. As in any country, theft prevention is about being aware of what is going on around you and keeping your belongings safe at all times. You can help reduce the chances of theft by keeping items such as mobile phones and laptops out of sight as much as possible.

Bicycle theft is major problem in German cities. To avoid this, ensure you always lock your bike when you leave it, even for a few seconds. Use a secure lock, or two if you have detachable wheels.


The emergency number that should be used in Germany is 112 for the fire brigade and ambulance, and 110 for the police. If you dial 112 and ask for the police, your call will be transferred to the police emergency line.

You can dial 112 from any phone including phone boxes and from any mobile so long as you have a SIM card inside. Autobahns have bright orange emergency telephones for you to use in an emergency. Ambulances will help you no matter what your situation with insurance is; that will be dealt with afterwards.

Emergency Service



Ambulance & Fire


Everywhere in Germany



Everywhere in Germany



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