Crime And Police In Cyprus

Cyprus is known to be a relatively safe place to live in. Below you will learn about police presence and the general situation regarding crimes in Cyprus.

Cyprus is known as a safe place in which to live. Despite past violence and the consequent division of the country to northern Turkish and southern Greek Cypriot regions, statistics for the Republic of Cyprus point to a crime rate that is lower than that of most other western European countries. In North Cyprus crime is relatively low but normal precautions should always be taken. Children and the elderly can walk the streets alone or at night and the environment is a warm, welcoming one. However, cars and properties in North Cyprus should always be left secured.

Politically, hopes are higher than ever for a power-sharing deal between North and South Cyprus to settle the decades of division and unrest on the island. The catalyst is Turkey's push towards EU membership which would allow reunification in Cyprus and extend EU laws to the Turkish portion of the island.

A crime rate of 6.44 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants shows a low incidence of crime in Cyprus. This is apparently due to the closeness of family ties, a sense of honour and reputation, along with the social pressures of education and achievement.

Petty crime is not uncommon on the beach and other tourist areas, and theft is by far the most common crime on the island. Watch out for your baggage and personal belongings and never leave anything inside your car to tempt the opportunist.

Reports of violent crime are rare though you would be well advised to avoid night spots after midnight, particularly "Cabarets". Cabaret girls, also referred to as "artists," are often associated generally with organized crime groups on the island and should be avoided. Foreign visitors to Cabarets often find they are overcharged for drinks, particularly when paying by credit card. While the police do not condone this practice, they rarely sympathize with you if you fall victim to this scam.

While illegal drug activity is considered low by most countries´ standards, immigration and customs officials in Limassol and Larnaca continue to report increases in the amount of illegal drugs such as hashish, marijuana, and ecstasy being imported to the country. It is easy to smuggle drugs from the Turkish North to areas within Nicosia. Foreign visitors are the principal source of this importation. Penalties are heavy for the importation and/or sale of any quantity of illegal drugs in Cyprus.

Police Response

The Cypriot police force is considered to be professional, although resources can sometimes be limited. As a result, response times from the police vary according to the time of day and the crime. For example, waits of up to one hour after a traffic accident at night is considered normal. However, response times to incidents involving life or personal safety are very good and considered to be on par with most European countries.

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