Murder, armed robbery, rape and other violent crimes are not a big problem in Athens. Even with the rise in crime which by Greek standards is an epidemic, Athens is still one of the safest cities in Europe if not the world though it is quickly building a reputation as a city to avoid or get in and get out as fast as it takes to see the Acropolis. For this reason some people are chosing to stay in the coastal suburbs and visit the sights of Athens on a daytrip with a taxi or public transport. But my feeling is that if you know what to watch out for and take a few precautionary steps you should not be affected by the ills of Athens.
Petty Crime
Most crime is of the petty variety like the pick-pockets who work the crowded metro cars in central Athens. By keeping your hands in your pocket, or holding tight to purse, you make yourself a difficult target and what they are looking for are easy targets. One way you can protect yourself and at the same time really annoy the pickpockets is by using a decoy wallet, stuffed with fake credit cards, unpleasant photos, monopoly money etc while having your real valuables in one of those secret wallets that fasten to your ankle under your socks or down your pants. I wrote about this on my blog in an article titled Defeating the Pick-pockets and I highly suggest you read this and follow my advice.
As one reader of my site wrote to me:
So I got smart and did what you said last year. I bought a cheap wallet, bought kid`s play money and filled it full of the fake cash, with a few fake credit cards. Sure enough, the thief took the bait on the metro…I laughed all the way back to the hotel !!!!
or this which came on Sept 2nd 2011:
Hey Matt. Just returned from Athens after probably the best week of my life ! Your safety tips helped me on countless occasions. I was walking through the metro building when I felt a hand hear my coat. And sure enough my wallet was gone!. But o yeh I read your page first so the pick pocket only stole the fake one. I took 3 fake wallets and retuned home with one! I’m so glad it wasn t my real wallet. I hope you are well. Yours thankfully JB
The easiest places to get pick-pocketed are the metro, the public buses, on line at the acropolis and even looking at the flights board at the airport. If someone stumbles into you in a crowd chances are they have your wallet. If you use a decoy and make it easy for them you will leave the bus a lot happier than they are.
Many higher category hotels and even the economy class Hotel Attalos now have safety deposit boxes in the rooms. If you have a safe in your room there is no reason for you to walk the streets of Athens with a bunch of credit cards and all your money. More on this interesting article here

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