Stockholm's public transport terminus appears to be the chosen hang out for the city's homeless, mainly because the subterranean platforms for the tube, retain warmth, even during winter. Upon arrival there, I was approached immediately by a scary-looking youth in a hoodie, whose eyes betrayed a heavy heroin habit. However, he turned out to be something of a scholar, fluent in English, & had self-published his own book of poetry, from which he was trying to fund his recovery, from selling it to travellers. In all the time I was in the city, I never suffered any harassment from the drunks & junkies, & I do not think you need to worry about them, but they are a feature of Stockholm. The number of obviously drunk men, with large, cartoon-style red bumps on their faces, where they'd walked into signs & lampposts, was a surprise to me, as were those huddled in sleeping bags on pavements frozen with rime. I thought Sweden was a champion of the welfare state, but either this does not extend to drunks, junkies, & homeless youths, or the country has a much bigger problem in this area, than it cares to admit...
Be aware of the games that are played on the streets of old town, esp ''find the plea'' played with matchboxes. I just was out of one of the shops and saw the game on the street. As I went closer to see, they approached me to bet 500 kroner. Believe me they are really fast and all are a part of organized crime pretending to look like tourist !!!! Just stay way far from them and ignore.
Every year more and more international groups of organized crime, rip people of in Stockholm!
Mostly eatern european, and south american PICKPOCKETS, BEGGERS(Sweden can't kick out people who can show the police they got enough money to suport them self...) and "FAKE GAMBLERS" on the streets, that rip people of, through making them belive that they can win big money. ( They let their own "members" play, who looks like other tourists, and let them win, so that you will belive it is easy money. BUT YOU WILL NOT WIN MONEY!!!!)
All of it is well organized, and if you try telling people that is on the way to get riped off, you will get threaten by members places strategic around the place...(who also warn each other if the police arrives...)
Keep your things tight. Wallets, cameras, bags, jackets, just everything. Always put your clothes and bags in closet when you visit clubs. I get stuff stolen all the time. A friend of mine got her gray plastic bag with new year eve's champagne stolen during the fire works. Another friend the wallet one week ago. Even the most ordinary looking people are potential cleptos! Believe me.
Don't ever ever take an illegal taxi, called "black taxis". Keep to the big taxi enterprises and preferably order it by phone. Taxi Stockholm +46-(0)8-150000, Taxi Kurir +46-(0)8-300000, Taxi 020, +46(0)20--20 20 20, Taxi Card, etc. If you're not sure if it's a seriuos taxi enterprise, ask if they take credit cards. If not, don't take that cab!
Within the city area a cab should never cost more that 60-120 SEK, 8-16 USD.
In the city center there's always a possibility to take a night bus - and it will never take more than half an hour to walk anywhere to somewhere in the city.
Small groups of people (usually east-europeans) hang about in the old town and along Drottninggatan. One of them starts a game of "find the pea" using three matchboxes and a bead. The other members of the group pretend to not know him and bets 500-crown bills on the game. Their friend lets them win and for the spectators it looks real easy. When somebody outside the group bets, the bead is removed and no matter wich box you point to, you lose. They can get pretty threatening if you point this out. Best to just ignore them.
Like any large city, Stockholm has a lot of pick-pockets. Here's a story of our crazy experience with them, and hopefully you'll read it and know better how to prevent it and what to expect if it happens to you here.
My mom's wallet was stolen right out of her purse in Royal Palace gift shop. I had actually SEEN the person leaving with it and tried to run after him; I chased him right out of the store but eventually lost him. My mom was obviously hysterical, and had to go through a lot of complication trying to cancel all her Canadian credit cards.
The wallet ended up being found in a garbage can in some cafe. The jerk left the credit cards which she had already cancelled, and took all the money. She got ripped of majorly. If you you are in a foreign country and your wallet DOES get stolen, we learned that you have a great chance in finding it if your cards are not useful to the theif because you're not a resident of that country. (Don't expect there to be any cash in it though.)
I would highly suggest leaving most of your wallet contents (ie. gift cards, drivers licence, family photos, etc.) at home when you're traveling unless you're going to need them.
HERE's the crazy part:
That gift-shop at the Royal Palace actually had cameras that filmed the guy stealing the wallet but they refused to show it to us because they only care about people stealing from THEM, not from customers. CAN YOU IMAGINE? We probably could have caught the guy, gotten my mom's money back and put him in prison (where he damnwell belongs!) if it weren't for those rules.
Anyway, there's what happened to us and hopefully somebody will learn from it. Here's the emergency number to the police incase you need to contact them in Stockholm.
Stockholm has only the 'classic' warnings: Beware of pick pockets in tourist areas such as Old Town and don't travel on the underground on your own late at night (at least not as a woman). Also, be a little alert if you pass the lowered open space at Sergels Torg just outside the T-centralen underground entrance. That bit of the square, known as Plattan, is where the Stockholm drug dealers hang around at night. Daytime, there can be demonstrations and manifestations of all sorts, a bit like London's Speakers Corner but bigger.
Our rental car was parked at Gustav Adolf's Torg just outside the Opera. We went off for the 1 hour Royal Canal cruise at 4.30pm. When we returned, our car had been broken into, and my videocamera, souvenirs, some cash, and guidebooks were stolen. We do remember locking the car with the remote, but somehow the thief had managed to enter the car without any sign of forced entry. We now know (unfortunately) that the main Stockholm police station is located in Kungsholmen, quite close to the City Hall.
Stockholm is very safe. Very. But this does not mean there is no criminal at all. Pickpocketing is still there in some places. Be more careful at central station, because of there's a lot of people and criminals use this fact as a weapon.
But in general, you can walk where you want and when you want. Use common sense and you will be fine.
On the picture you can see me walking in Södermalm after 9 pm. Dark February night is safe for careful people.
The Central Station after midnight, I haven't run into any trouble though.. I think it's more how you behave when you're downtown during the weekends... Don't start a fight!!
They say there's a lot of robbers during the summer, but I have never heard of any thas has actually been 'robbed', but plz keep an eye on your bags and purses, in case!!
Dangers??? In Stockholm? You're kidding, this is the safest place on earth!
Ok, I was told by a Swedish friend not to hang around at Korgens nytorv place at night, as it seems to be the place for junkies and drug dealers, but even then, nothing to really worry about.
Stockholm is a safe city. During summer, international pick-pockets enter the city, but I have never met anyone who has been robbed.
The tap-water is great and you have no choice but to drink it, since it is almost impossible to find non-carbonated bottled water.