Country Information Serbia – US Department of State

Public demonstrations by political parties, unions, and other groups happen in Serbia from time to time.  Violent demonstrations have occurred as recently as August 2011, and the Government of Serbia cancelled the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Gay Pride parades due to security concerns.  You should know that even demonstrations that start out peacefully can quickly turn violent.  U.S. citizens traveling or living in Serbia should avoid demonstrations if possible, and maintain caution if within the vicinity of demonstrations.  There is often a heavier than usual police presence in areas where demonstrations are taking place, and traffic may slow or stop until well after the demonstration ends.

Anti-U.S. feelings are strongest in Serbia around the anniversary dates of certain events, and on some national holidays.  Among these dates and holidays are March 24 (the beginning of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign), February 17 (the date of the 2008 independence of Kosovo), and ethnic Serb holidays such as St. Vitus’s Day (Vidovdan, celebrated June 28).

Wins or losses in sporting events can also trigger violence.  U.S. citizens were not targets of any recent sports-related violence, but in a few isolated cases, soccer hooligans and petty criminals singled out and attacked citizens of other Western countries.  We urge U.S. citizens to be vigilant if attending, or in the vicinity of, sporting events in Serbia. U.S. government employees are strongly discouraged from attending most sporting events, especially soccer matches between teams that are long-standing rivals.

Belgrade nightclubs are increasingly popular with foreign tourists.  If you decide to go to a nightclub, you should know that they can be crowded and may not be up to Western standards for maximum occupancy and fire safety.

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CRIME:  Belgrade does not have high levels of street crime, but pick-pocketing, purse snatchings, residential burglaries, and other crimes of economic motivation regularly occur.  People traveling to Serbia should take the same precautions in Belgrade as they would in any large city in the United States.  You should be especially vigilant in Serbian city centers, just as you would anywhere else in the world.  Most crimes happen because people let their guard down. Unlocked cars, valuable items left in plain sight, such as money, jewelry, and electronics, open gates, and open garage doors make attractive targets for thieves.  Violent crime in Serbia is most often associated with organized crime activities, but can also be the result of xenophobia.  Tourists are not often the targets of violent crime, but killings associated with organized crime have occurred in places where tourists gather such as hotels, restaurants, shops, and busy streets.  

When taking taxicabs in Serbia, travelers should pay attention to cab meters and listed fares as taxi drivers sometimes try to charge foreigners higher rates.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.  We can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Serbia is 192 (police), 193 (fire-fighters), 194 (paramedics), and 1987 (road assistance).  If you are dialing any of these numbers from your cell phone, you need to dial the area code first:  in Belgrade, 011 + number.

Source US Department of State