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When moving to a foreign land such as Bulgaria, especially with a small child in tow, crime should always be one of the first things to be researched. It is often difficult to do so on the web objectively – this may be your only resource if you don't know anyone resident in the country – because there are so many sensationalist news stories published which tend to skew one's outlook. Crime is always a difficult thing to gauge for the addition reason that it doesn't always get reported, so the media relies on a combination of anecdotal experience and public crime surveys to get a handle on what is going on (but of course the public also feed off the media – and crime sells!). This is not solely the case for Bulgaria of course. As far as our experience goes, we haven't been here long enough to give any decent advice of our own, however we have spoken to a lot of expats and residents here as for us this is the best way of getting an idea of what sort of crime occurs in addition to reading first hand accounts at online forums.
In terms of official crime figures in Bulgaria, there was a massive increase during the transitional period of the early nineties after the fall of communism but, according to a study done by the Centre for the Study of Democracy crime levels fell between 2001 and 2004 as evidenced by both official figures and victimisation surveys. This report also shows that crime levels in Bulgaria are comparable to other industrialised countries and are actually lower for most categories of crime. The reduction in crime has been put down to decreasing levels of unemployment and emigration of young males (!).
Crime is of a different sort in the countryside to that in towns and cities. I lived in Camberwell, London for eight years before moving here, and there gun crime is rife and people would regularly get shot in the neighbourhood, mostly gang-related incidents. In addition to this several of my acquaintances and friends had been mugged in the vicinity of my home. I am not about to compare our village in Bulgaria to Camberwell – it is a different sort of life and a different sort of crime that goes on here. I felt safe in Camberwell because I was familiar with the environment and knew how to avoid sticky situations (no walking down dark alleys at night for me!). When we first moved to Bulgaria I was quite apprehensive the first time Tom was away for a night. Everyone knows that we are English and so this makes us, in my mind a natural target for burglary – that and the fact that we have an easily scalable fence around our property! It is not only this – it is also the fact that there is no police in the village and that we don't know that many people yet.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2009 01:36|