Victims of Crime

As in all large cities, crime can be a problem in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.  Western visitors, especially short-term visitors such as tourists and students, are potential targets.  Most street crime is non-violent.  Simple pick-pocketing is the most common type of incident reported to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.  However, more violent crimes, including armed robbery, drugging and robbery of unsuspected victims, and shootings have occurred.  Unfortunately U.S. citizens of African and Asian descent are at increased risk of racially motivated harassment, sometimes including physical assault, from both the public and police officials.

Credit card and ATM fraud can also be a problem. The Embassy has received reports from individuals who have paid for items or responded to advertisements on the internet from fictitious Ukrainian businesses and sent money or provided credit card numbers only to not receive the produce they ordered or had their credit cards used illegally.  Marriage/dating scams are also prevalent.

The most significant threat to long-term residents is burglary of apartments and vehicles.  Although relatively few cars are actually stolen, burglary of vehicles, including theft of stereo equipment and items of value left inside, appears to be increasing, particularly in Kyiv.  Residential and hotel break-ins, as well as carjacking, assaults in apartment building corridors and stairwells, and armed burglary, have also been reported.  Fortunately, incidents of these more violent crimes against U.S. citizens are relatively rare. Information for U.S. citizens who become victims of crime is available using the link on the right.

Additional information on traveling or residing safely overseas is available from the Department of State.  The Embassy urges U.S. citizens to report criminal incidents to the local police and to the American Citizen Services unit as soon as possible.  In addition, U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ukraine should exercise common sense security precautions, including:

  • Carry your U.S. passport with you, as required by Ukrainian law, but keep a copy in a safe place in case you need to replace it in case of loss or theft.
  • Avoid wearing conspicuous and expensive jewelry. Limit the amount of money, the number of credit cards, and other important documents (U.S. driver’s license, checkbooks, etc) that you carry.
  • Try to avoid being out by yourself, especially late at night. Travel in groups whenever possible.
  • Avoid using short cuts, narrow alleys, or poorly lit streets. Before entering underground pedestrian crosswalks, be aware of who is around you. Be especially alert for gangs of youth, possible con-artists, and beggars, including those purporting to be disabled.
  • Be aware of being bumped or pushed. Pickpockets frequently jostle their victims to distract them. Be cautious in crowds or crowded areas, particularly while on public transportation, or at train stations, open air markets, and popular tourist sites.
  • Do not patronize unmarked taxicabs or get in any taxi carrying other passengers not known to you. Always use one of several reputable taxi companies available in Kyiv and other cities.

If you are driving, strictly obey traffic laws and carry your registration and license with you.  Keep your windows up and your doors locked at all times.  Keep valuables out of sight, such as on the floor, in the back seat, or in a trunk.