Police will increase security before Christmas

More police will be in places with large crowds, and some will be heavily armed

During Advent and Christmas, police will increase security measures in places with a high concentration of people throughout the country. More police should be visible on the streets starting this weekend.

Police officers warn of increased crime during holidays, and people should beware not only of theft but also of fake collections.

“As with similar holidays in the past, police will be seen more, and where it is appropriate or where it is needed, they will have long weapons,” First Deputy Police President Martin Vondrášek said at a press conference. In the past, police have patrolled with assault rifles.

There is no specific threat, and the increased security measures are a precaution. “Currently, we do not know anything that would in any way threaten the security of the Czech Republic,” Vondrášek said.

More police will be seen at airports, train stations, Christmas markets and cultural events.

The exact number of officers was not specified “Forces and resources will always be tailored to events in a particular region and will be slightly higher than they are normally throughout the year," Vondrášek said. The first or lowest of four levels of a threat of terrorism is in effect in the Czech Republic.

A phone line has set up for organizers of events so police can offer advice on how to prevent possible threats.

Zuzana Pidrmanová from the Police’s Crime Prevention Department warned against increased activity by pockets during the holidays.

“Pickpockets go to places with a high concentration of people, and rely on inattentiveness, such as when people shop for Christmas gifts,” she said. She also said that during Advent there is an increase in fraudulent emails and people who collect money but do not give any of the money to charity.

Crimes targeting seniors also increase.

Pidrmanová appealed to younger people to warn their older loved ones to be very careful regarding allowing strangers in their homes, giving money to strangers and responding to requests for money over mail, email and social media.

Some Christmas markets are already open. The large ones at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square open Dec. 2. Advent, which included the four Sundays before Christmas, starts Dec. 3.

Dec. 24, 25 and 26, as well as Jan. 1, are national holidays.

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