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Cablegate: Annual Overseas Security Advisory Council (Osac) Crime And

UNCLAS ZAGREB 00012

SIPDIS
R 110936Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8461

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000012

SIPDIS

FOR DS/OSAC, DS/IP/EUR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT APER
SUBJECT: ANNUAL OVERSEAS SECURITY ADVISORY COUNCIL (OSAC) CRIME AND
SAFETY REPORT FOR CROATIA - 2008

REF: STATE 199547

1. (U) The following is the 2008 OSAC Annual Crime and Safety Report
for Croatia. The report responses are keyed to REFTEL format,
paragraph 3.

2. (U) I. Overall Crime and Safety Situation:

A. Croatia enjoys a relatively low crime rate by US and European
standards. It is generally safe to move about the major cities and
tourist areas. In Zagreb residential burglaries do occur in the
more affluent neighbourhoods with increases in frequency observed
during holiday and vacation periods.

Croatia is a popular tourist destination, especially along the
Adriatic coast. While reported crime rates in the coastal regions
are normally low, petty street crimes and document theft surge
during the peak summer tourist season.

This year Croatia has experienced an increase in ATM scams/fraud.
Almost every major city in Croatia has been targeted by criminals
who have the technical ability and/or the street smarts to obtain
ATM card information and pin codes from ATMs and/or their users.
These criminals then use this information to extract funds from an
account illegally.

Violent crime involving visitors is rare. However, armed robberies
in Zagreb targeting banks, armoured car deliveries, post offices and
gambling businesses continue to be a problem.

Organized crime groups target each other using intimidation tactics
utilizing explosives and firearms. There are no indications that
Americans living or visiting Croatia have been targeted in these
crimes. Croatian Police are aggressive in their response to these
activities.

B. Buses and trams in Zagreb are safe and efficient. Taxis are also
safe with only occasional reports of fare abuse. Croatian roads are
generally paved and in fair to good condition. Traffic accidents
from aggressive drivers are common and rise noticeably during the
summer holiday season.

II. Political Violence:

A. Political violence is rare. There are occasional demonstrations
by labour unions and veteran groups directed towards local
government policies, but they have been generally peaceful. Since
2003, there have not been any demonstrations directed at the U.S.
Embassy in Zagreb. Some ethnic tensions lingering from the 1990's
wars still exist and are more pronounced in certain regions of the
country.

B. Croatia has no known domestic terrorists groups. Organized crime
is an issue in Croatia and the region in general. Organized Crime
groups in the region operate across borders with relative ease
although there is new focus by the Croatians to address this
problem.

C. There are no known international terrorist groups in Croatia, nor
would it be a welcoming safehaven.

D. Civil unrest is not a current issue in Croatia.

III. Post Specific Concerns:

A. Zagreb is located within a seismically active region and minor
tremors are occasionally felt. The last large-scale earthquake in
or around Zagreb occurred in 1880.

B. The Krsko nuclear power plant is located in Slovenia, about 40
kilometres from Zagreb. The plant has been in service since 1984
and is scheduled to remain in service for another twenty years. No
known safety issues have occurred at the plant, but given the close
proximity earthquakes or industrial accidents are potential
concerns.

C. Kidnappings are a rare occurrence in Croatia.

D. The region has a history of smuggling by established crime groups
to include movement of illicit drugs. There is some violence
associated with smuggling but it currently does not rise to the
level of narcoterrorism.

E. Americans are reminded that Croatian law requires all visitors to
register with the police upon entering the country. Registration at
a hotel will satisfy the registration requirement. Travellers who
are staying in private accommodations should register with the local
police precinct.

F. A legacy of the war is landmines. Croatia has an effective
de-mining program but there are still, by some estimates, upwards of
half a million mines in border and former conflict areas.

IV. Police Response:
A. Police support provided to foreign crime victims has been
consistently satisfactory and timely. If you are harassed, detained
or arrested by the Croatian police you should contact the U.S.
Embassy as soon as possible and ask to speak to the American
Citizens Services section.
B. The nationwide police emergency number is 92. In Zagreb the
police have an English-speaking dispatcher on duty at all times.
Outside of Zagreb this may not be the case.

V. Medical Emergencies:
A. The nationwide medical emergency number is 94, the fire emergency
number is 93. The medical dispatch center also tries to maintain an
English speaker on duty. The primary trauma hospital in Zagreb is
"Traumatoligija" located at Draskoviceva 19, Phone 385-1-461-0011.
Air Ambulance companies based in Austria service Croatia.

VI. Travel Precautions:

A. Visitors to one of the several "gentlemen's" clubs in Croatia are
cautioned to be aware of drink prices. On several occasions
tourists have unknowingly run up exorbitant bar bills, sometimes in
the thousands of dollars. In Croatia it is legal to charge any
price as long as the price is posted. However, these establishments
post drink lists in small text and in odd places making it difficult
for patrons to see the prices. The establishment staff may resort to
threats or strong arm tactics to those customers who will not pay
the bill.

B. Caution is advised when visiting gambling establishments due to
the number of armed robberies targeting those locations. Also,
visitors should be extra vigilant during large soccer events which
tend to draw large crowds and occasionally some violence.

C. Visitors are recommended to avoid using stand alone and/or
isolated ATMs as these machines appear to be targeted by theft
schemes more often then ATMs located inside banks, shopping centers
or hotels. Visitors are reminded not to give your pin number to
anyone and that it is recommended to cover the touchpad with your
hand when entering your pin code.

VII. Further Information:

A. Duty Officer 385-91-455-2247
U.S. embassy business hours 385-1-661-2200
U.S. embassy 24hours 385-1-661-2400
RSO office 385-1-661-2228
Consular Affairs 385-1-661-2300
Political/econ section 385-1-661-2283
Foreign Commercial Service 385-1-661-2090
Medical Unit 385-1-661-2274
CROMAC De-mining Center 385-44-554-151

VIII. OSAC Country Council:

A. The OSAC Country council for Croatia is in the development
stages. For more information, or to become a member, please contact
the Regional Security Office, OSAC'S Eastern Europe Regional
Coordinator or visit http://Zagreb.osac.gov.

WALKER

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