Please exercise caution and beware of pickpockets while shopping and sightseeing. Pickpockets tend to operate in the areas of the city most frequented by tourists.
Visitors must pay attention to their surroundings and be aware of unusual behavior that may signal a robbery attempt. Situational awareness is imperative and the best defense.
Warning: If robbed, do not attempt to personally apprehend the thief. At least one victim was stabbed while attempting to get his wallet back.
Some of the methods of operation used by local pickpockets and purse-snatchers include:
A staged "fight" or "chase scene" on the sidewalk that draws the attention of passersby -- while the thief reaches for wallets and purses. Recently these actions have increased in complexity utilizing up to five men in a choreographed chase/fight that culminates where the victim is standing. Escape is sometimes by a taxi working for the thieves. Defensive response: Immediately move into a shop, doorway or away from the attack site. Shout, "police" if necessary.
A stranger spilling something on the victim and then taking his wallet while pretending to help clean up the mess.
An individual carrying boxes "bumps" into the victim while an accomplice takes the wallet.
A stranger bumps into victim saying "pardon" and takes the money.
In restaurants, women's purses have been taken by utilizing deception/distraction and by simply snatching the purse and running.
Teams of women and children have worked the sidewalks successfully. They usually block the victim's route, distract, and ask questions, and/or request medical assistance while the children reach into the victim's purse taking the money. The victim usually realizes a robbery has occurred only later after the thieves have departed the area.
The American Citizen Services are provided between 14:00 and 16:30 pm Monday to Thursday.
You need to make an online appointment before you visit Online Appointment System
You may call (90) (312) 455 5555 or fax us on (90) (312) 466 5684.
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Useful Information along the Turkish-Syrian Border - New! (PDF 62KB)