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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Attacks Against Foreigners, Overall Crime Rate Are Up

The perception among foreigners that Moscow is becoming more dangerous is an accurate one.

In the first six months of this year, 431 foreigners in Moscow have been victims of crime, as compared to 636 in the whole of 1991, said Vladimir Vershkov, deputy chief of the press center of the GUVD, the city's Interior Department.

The increase in crimes against foreigners is reflected in an overall growth in crime. Itar-Tass reported earlier this month that the crime rate in Russia is up 30 percent over 1991. Violent crimes and the use of firearms increased by a startling 100 percent.

Robberies involving foreigners increased by five times, and the number of burglaries and car thefts doubled in the first half of this year, Vershkov said. Violent crimes are also on the increase, he said. In 1991, no foreigners were murdered in the city, but this year, seven cases have been reported.

According to the Russian Federation's Interior Ministry, Vietnamese are targeted more often than those of other nationalities. Slightly more than 14 percent of foreigners who report crimes are Vietnamese, said Victor Gavrilyuk of the Russian ministry.

Germans make up 8. 7 percent of foreign victims. About 8 percent are Finns, 8 percent are Chinese, 4 percent are Mongolians, 4 percent are Americans, 3. 4 percent are from the former Yugoslavia, and 3. 2 percent are Poles, Gavrilyuk said. Some of the foreign victims were actively involved in criminal activities, such as illegally trading consumer goods and currency exchanges, Vershkov said.

As the crime rate in Moscow continues to escalate, UPDK, the state agency in charge of housing for foreigners, and several embassies are undertaking measures to beef up security.

About two weeks ago, Dipcomfort, a joint venture UPDK firm, improved the lighting conditions and placed private guards at the entrances of an Oktyabrskaya Square building that houses foreigners. Several robberies, including a few involving a cat burglar in August, have been reported at the building during the past year.

UPDK has implemented similar measures at the Dobrininskaya dipkorpus, and an official said recently that other efforts will be undertaken at several more buildings that are occupied by foreigners.

Foreigners seeking ways to avoid being victims of crimes may should heed this advice from Gavrilyuk at the Interior Ministry. "If you have a business trip, discuss all questions connected to it with your business partner and give him details of your meetings and transportation. On tourists trips, travel with a reliable companion".

Here in Moscow, he urges foreigners not to change hard currency on the street. "Also, don't invite strangers into your apartment, be careful of your pockets in crowded places and don't leave anything in your car".