Play It Safe: A Guide to London’s Games
The Summer Olympics are almost here!
In just 39 days, London will treat the world to its Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies. If you’re lucky enough to be there in person, this second installment of our 3-part Guide to London’s Games, offers information on what London is doing to keep you and thousands of spectators safe during the Summer Olympic games. Here we go…
Is London Safe?
Kroll Security Analysts reports that there is a moderate risk for crime in London, although the overall crime rate fell by one percent in 2010 from 2009 figures, according to the London Metropolitan Police. In January 2012, the secretary-general of Interpol said his organization uncovered no specific intelligence indicating a threat to the Olympic Games by militants.
The most serious crime threat to foreigners in London comes from pickpockets, petty thieves, and bag-snatchers. These criminals are particularly active near tourist locations, restaurants, crowded pedestrian areas like Oxford Circus, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and on public transportation.
An increase in petty crime can be expected for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Thieves target smartphones, laptop and tablet computers, cameras, wallets, jewelry, watches, and passports. Foreigners are advised not to wear cameras around their neck as this identifies them as tourists and attractive victims.
When riding the London Underground (the Tube) and the city’s buses, foreigners should monitor their belongings, particularly before the doors close. A number of criminals are known to snatch valuables just before the doors close to make a quick getaway. Many of London pickpockets are young children or beggars and are known to operate in groups. Visitors are advised to take basic precautions against pickpockets, such as wearing bags across the body, keeping a wallet in a secure front pocket or waist bag, and always locking a bag strap around your leg or chair leg and in sight when sitting at an outdoor cafe. When using an ATM, foreigners are encouraged to exercise caution or travel with a companion as pickpockets may monitor their victim for an auspicious moment to steal cash. Criminals operating in groups will frequently employ distraction tactics, with one criminal engaging the victim in conversation or dropping something in front of them while another picks pockets.
During the Olympic Games, some 10,000 private security staff will work alongside 13,500 British soldiers to check bags and vehicles, man perimeter checkpoints, and maintain order. In an emergency, the MPS can be reached by dialing 999. To report suspicious behavior to police, foreigners can reach the confidential anti-terrorist hotline at 0 (800) 789-321.
More travel resources can be found below:
- Department of State – Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheets
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Travelers’ Health Page
- International Society of Travel Medicine – Travel Clinics Around the World
- US Federal Aviation Administration – Passenger Information
- US Embassies and other Diplomatic Missions – List of World Embassies
Stay tuned…our next Guide installment answers: How do I get medical care?
If you’re fortunate enough to be attending the 2012 Summer Olympics and are curious about your travel insurance options, please don’t hesitate to Ask An Advisor or call us at (800) 647-4589 to speak with a Client Advisor.