Crime & Police - Crime prevention advice and the Bulgarian police stations by region.
Con artists operate on public transportation and in bus and train stations. Travellers should be suspicious of "instant friends" and should also require persons claiming to be government officials to show identification. There have been incidents in which tourists have accepted offers of coffee or alcoholic beverages from "friendly people" met by chance at the airport, bus stations, hotels or train stations and have been drugged or assaulted and robbed.
Travellers should be wary of unfamiliar individuals who encourage them to drink or eat products that may be tainted with strong tranquilizers (such as valium) that can lead rapidly to unconsciousness.
Taxi drivers at Sofia Airport often overcharge unwary travellers. Travellers who pre-negotiate a fare may avoid excessive payment. Taximeters are frequently rigged to accrue charges faster than normal.
Because incidents of pilferage of checked baggage at Sofia Airport are common, travellers should not include items of value in checked luggage.
Car theft is also a frequent problem, with four-wheel drive vehicles and late model European sedans the most popular targets. Very few vehicles are recovered. Thieves also sometimes smash vehicle windows to steal valuables left in sight. Break-ins at residential apartments occur frequently. Persons who plan to reside in Bulgaria on a long-term basis should take measures to protect their dwellings. Long term residents should consider installation of window grills, steel doors with well-functioning locks, and an alarm system that alerts an armed response team.
Be aware that begging and prostitution is more common place and 'open' that in many other countries. Some child beggars can get abusive (initially having appeared very friendly) if they are not given money.
Potential travellers should also be cautious about making credit card charges over the Internet as recent experience has shown that some offers come from scam artists posing as legitimate businesses.
Travellers should also be careful about making credit card payments to Bulgarian tour operators over the Internet before coming to Bulgaria, because some entities listed there do not actually exist. The loss or theft abroad of a passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest relevant embassy or consulate.
If you are the victim of a crime whilst In Bulgaria, in addition to reporting to local police, also contact the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find a lawyer if needed.
You will find below the locations and phone numbers of police departments in Sofia and the larger Black Sea and mountain resort cities. You may find them useful if you should ever need to call the police during your stay:
Sofia Municipal Directorate ol the interior- Sofia, 5 Antim I; Tel: 88 33 33 Crime Prevention Department, reception - Sofia, 23 Gen. Gurko St., Tel: 988 52 39, 982 2212.
Addresses and phone numbers of Police Departments (PD) in resort and tourist centres:
Borovets PD- Borovets, behind the Rila Hotel, Tel: 335 Koprivshtitsa PD - Tel: 21 05 Sandanski PD - Sandanski, 2 Malashevski St., Tel. 21 31,21 32 Velingrad PD - Velingrad, 1 G. Damyanov St. (across from the bus terminal) Tel:25 72, 25 73 Strelcha PD - Strelcha St.. Tel: 20 29, 22 76 Smolyan PD - Smolyan, 67 Bulgaria Blvd. Tel: 3 23 21, 3 23 22 Chepelare PD - Chepelare; 1 Dicho Petrov St. (behind the Town Hall), Tel: 22 23 Pamporovo PD - Pamporovo, inside the Town Hall next to the Perelik Hotel, Tel: 274 Hisarya PD - Hisarya, 10 V. Petrovich St., Tel: 20 20 Veliko Turnovo PD - Veliko Turnovo, 7 Bacho Kiro St., Tel: 2 01 51 Rila PD - in downtown Rila, Tel: 20 12, 22 92
Addresses and phone numbers of Police Departments in Black Sea cities: