Message for U.S. Citizens: Stay Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season in Poland is well under way.  Alongside opportunities to gather and enjoy the season, Embassy Warsaw would also like to remind U.S. citizens in Poland that potential challenges also exist.  In particular, the holiday season may bring an increase in crime, weather-related vehicle accidents, and security-related incidents.

Whether residing in Poland or just visiting, U.S. citizens should remain vigilant and utilize appropriate personal safety practices.

Terrorism

While Poland is not considered to be at heightened risk for terrorism, it is important to note that terrorism is an ongoing global issue, including in the European Union, with past attacks serving as a reminder that the threat is ever-present.  While there is no need to panic or feel stressed, remain vigilant and do not let complacency compromise your security.  In the current global landscape, personal security should be a year-round priority demanding continual attention.

As highlighted in the recently updated Worldwide Caution, which takes into account increased tensions in various global locations, there exists the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or other violent actions targeting U.S. citizens and interests.  Thus, the Department of State advises all U.S. citizens overseas to exercise heightened caution.

Remain vigilant, particularly in popular tourist spots such as Christmas markets.  Always be aware of your immediate surroundings, avoiding large crowds or congested areas.  Given the expected surge of shoppers during the holiday season and at public holiday events, exercise even greater caution.  Staying informed through media and local sources is crucial, as well as incorporating any updated information into your personal travel plans and activities.   Be prepared – create a personal emergency plan for you and your family.

Crime

While Poland continues to be one of the safest countries in Europe, incidents tend to rise this time of year.  To mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of a crime, we suggest the following actions:

•        Maintain a high level of situational awareness.

•        When possible, walk with others, avoiding poorly lit streets, narrow alleys, and isolated locations.

•        Be wary of people who approach you.

•        Keep purses and handbags close to your person and zippered or closed when on public transportation and at Christmas markets.   Pickpockets work in groups to distract you and steal your items.

Residential Security

Residential burglaries and property theft incidents do occur in Poland, although on a much lower scale than in many other large metropolitan areas.

•        Keep residential doors and windows locked at all times, including when at home.  If you have an alarm system, activate it when away or when asleep.

•        Secure bikes and other items of value that are stored outside the house and lock cars overnight.

•        Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.  Secure them in the trunk or out of sight.

Cybersecurity Awareness

As the holidays approach, threat actors and financially motivated cybercriminals tend to shift operations, using the holiday season as an opportunity to spoof shopping or shipping companies, or even distressed U.S. citizens stuck overseas, to entice users to click on links about sales, billing, wire transfers, or shipping problems.  Use established, reputable websites and companies.

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy, Warsaw, Poland   AlejeUjazdowskie 29/31, Piękna 12   00-539, Warsaw   +48 22 504 2784 (business hours)   +48 22 504 2000 (after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens)   ACSWarsaw@state.gov   https://pl.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/   

U.S. Consulate General, Krakow, Poland   

ul. Stolarska 9   

31-043 Krakow, Poland   

+48 12 424 5100 (business hours)    

+48 22 504 2000 (after-hours emergencies involving U.S. Citizens)   

KrakowACS@state.gov   

https://pl.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulate/krakow/   

U.S. Consular Agency, Poznan, Poland   ul. Paderewskiego 8 room 06, 61-770 Poznan   Tel: +48 61 851 8516 

ConsularAgencyPoznan@state.gov  

https://pl.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulate/consular-agency-poznan/ 

State Department – Consular Affairs   +1 (888) 407-4747 or +1 (202) 501-4444   Poland Country Information   Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security updates.   Follow us on Facebook and Twitter