"It is not at all easy to compare the state of crime in various countries since each country has particular problems with particular kinds of crime. Following the fall of communism at the end of 1980s and beginning of 1990s, a sharp growth was recorded in Russia for various kinds of crime. However, overall the average crime level in the world is considerably higher than in Russia. The situation with crime in Moscow and St. Petersburg differs little, in my opinion, from the state of affairs in other major cities in the world. I believe that recently the crime rate in Russia has stabilized slightly. Therefore it seems to me to be dishonest on the part of the western media to exaggerate the danger posed by crime in Russia”.
(Extract from a speech given in St. Petersburg by Raymond Kendall, General Secretary of Interpol)
Over recent years it is likely that you will have heard and read much bad about Russia. For many, and especially for the western media, criticizing Russia has become a kind of “bon ton”. We ask you to forget all that you have read. Look around you. You will see a beautiful city with faultless architecture and a high level of culture. The people of this city are attentive, kind, and well-educated.
Many speak English, German, or French. You will be understood and helped by Petersburgers wherever you may be - on the street, at a museum or the theatre, on a railway station, or in the metro. As for crime, the rumours you have heard are highly exaggerated. Yes, we have crime in St. Petersburg - as everywhere else on this earth. But the crime level here
is a lot lower than in many other major cities of the world. Law and order in St. Petersburg is controlled not only by national law-enforcement bodies, but also by private security companies.
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St.Petersburg security has a leading position in Russia. It is provided by professional
police departments. Policemen are wearing uniform, while another special group of officers
works in civilian clothes. Besides, the downtown area is also controlled by
"gorodovye" (hist. policemen) - a department, organized to ensure better
security in the city. "Gorodovye" are friendly and English-speaking, and they
will always help you in any situation. They are wearing crimson uniform caps.
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Traffic rules & regulations in Russia are the same as in Europe. Traffic is right-handed. Driving is allowed from the age of 18. Wearing of seat belts is obligatory. Within the city speed-limit is 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour), on the motorways it is 90 kilometers per hour (55 miles per hour). In the downtown there is parking only in special places.
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