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Keep it Safe: Nanjing Public Security and Safety Tips

By Melissa Morgenstern , eChinacities.com Add your comment Newsletter

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Last year, many people witnessed increased hostility towards international residents in China in the form of an increase in violent attacks, a public rant from China's famous news host, Yang Rui, and stricter visa requirements/punishments. Conversely, China has a reputation for being one of the safest countries to live in as a foreigner.  So, do those of us in Nanjing have much to worry about in terms of public safety?  Below are a few facts about Nanjing's public security and tips for visitors to the southern capitol.


Photo: dw.de

Nanjing police stations: At your service

The Nanjing local police stations serve two main purposes: service and crime fighting. Services provided by the Nanjing local police stations include: hukou and identification management, emergency assistance (i.e. fire, conflicts, abuse, etc.).  The local foreigner services offices is also very helpful in terms of providing information on housing, buying cell phones and phone cards, and other challenges that citizens may face during their stay in China.  In terms of crime fighting, since crime is not a serious problem for this second tier city, the biggest problems that most policemen face are local scheming, fraud, and stealing.  Although a policemen's shift can be pretty terrifying (it's not uncommon to work four consecutive days without sleep), it does amount to a generally safe city. 

Common crimes to be aware of in Nanjing

 Although Nanjing is generally considered a safe and orderly city, it is wise to beware of some of the more common and less serious crimes that plague all Nanjingers regardless of nationality.  For instance, in the Confucius Temple Area (夫子庙) – a touristy area featuring souvenir shops, restaurants and lantern-lit boat rides – pick-pocketing and the sale of counterfeit goods are all too common. While strolling around this area, be sure to keep your money in a well-hidden place or inside your coat and your cell phone and personal electronic devices either in zipped pockets or bags. In situations where you are taking public transportation, certain advertisements recommend that you keep your cell phone in your hand during your trip.  Read this article for more tips on how to avoid being pick-pocketed.

According to Zhang Ning of the Jinyinjie local police station, Nanjing is one of the safest cities in all of China. What's also interesting to note is that unlike many cities around the world, Chinese cities don't necessarily have "neighborhoods" that are known for high crime rates. Thus, the main areas to be aware of are those areas that have a lot of people or attract many tourists. Also, seeing as how Nanjing is an inner mainland city and is not usually known as an international hub like Guangzhou, there is far less crime in terms of illegal trafficking of people, drugs, etc. However, that being said, Nanjing, like all other cities in China, has witnessed its share of murders, shooting incidents, stabbings, robberies and other serious crimes. Therefore, vigilance is always necessary and newcomers to Nanjing should be aware of their nearest consulate or embassy; it's also a good idea to learn China's emergency numbers by heart and to keep the number of your local security bureau saved in your phone (see tips below). 

Safety tips

1) Take legitimate taxis
Getting a cab in Nanjing can be frustrating at the best of times, but getting an illegal cab or "hei che" (黑车) can put you at risk of getting ripped off or worst. Since illegal cabs are privately operated, the drivers are not monitored and are therefore extremely difficult to track down when a crime has been committed. Spotting legal cabs as opposed to the less legal option is pretty simple: just look for the brightly colored cabs that have working meters and brightly lit signs on the top of the cabs themselves. Be smart and get a legal cab.

2) Be traffic savvy
This may seem like a no-brainer but be sure to take precautions when walking around town, crossing the street, biking, or traveling anywhere without four wheels underneath your feet.  Nanjing is known for its electric biker population and traffic signals aren't necessarily the clearest.  After living here for over a year now myself, it seems that there really are no traffic rules except for when I get whistled at by one of the rarely-seen crossing guards in the Xinjiekou area. Not to mention that many of the sidewalks in Nanjing are littered with bikes, converted to parking garages, completely broken up, or non-existent.  Thus, it's a pretty good idea to keep all eyes ahead of you as opposed to on your sweetheart, iPhone, book, the shopping malls, etc. 

3) Know the emergency numbers
And last but not least, in case of emergencies dial 110 for the local police and be sure to have your passport handy. For first aid, dial 120 and for the fire department, dial 119.

Nanjing Public Security Bureau View In Map
Add: 1 Honggongci, Sanyuangang, Nanjing
地址:南京市三元巷洪公祠1号, 南京市公安局出入境管理处
Tel: 025 8442 0114, 8442 0005
Fax: 86025 8442 0074
Website: http://www.njga.gov.cn (Chinese only)

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Keywords: Nanjing safety tips Nanjing crime Nanjing public security bureau

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