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15.06.2012
How safe is Langstrasse?


Many local people regard the city's Langstrasse with its bars, discos and restaurants as the place to be, but following visits there, tourists have reported that it is "the worst place in town" and "very dangerous at night".
 
So what is the truth? Lukas Hofstetter, who runs the Langstars Hostel on the street, said, "Langsstrasse is a safe place, not least because there are people around at all times of the day and night and because the police patrol this area more than most." In fact René Rust, spokesman for the city police, agreed. "We do not keep special statistics about crimes against tourists but Langstrasse is not unsafe. Naturally, the more people there are in a particular area, the greater the potential for conflict."
 
Hofstetter added that in the year he has been running the hostel none of his guests had been the victim of any crime. In fact this is one reason why he is somewhat annoyed about the lack of support he gets from Zurich Tourism, despite paying CHF 300 membership fees plus CHF 2.50 for each overnight stay. "I know from some of my guests that, at Zurich Main Station, tourists are told to avoid this area." Kathrin Sommerauer, of the Rothaus Hotel next door to the Langstars Hostel, agreed. "We do not get help from them at all," she insisted. However, speaking for Zurich Tourismus, Lilian Spörri said, "We do not directly say that Langstrasse is a dangerous place, but we do tell them it is the city's red light district."
 
Indeed it is because of his disappointment with Zurich Tourism that Hofstetter has considered leaving the organisation. "They just do not do enough to give this street a better image abroad," he complained. "They are primarily concerned with making Zurich a destination for top-end tourists."
 
Despite Sommerauer's assurance that she felt the street was one of the safest, she found it annoying that drunk people loitered in the area until around 6 am at weekends. "And I do not like it when police make ID checks on people directly in front of my hotel," she complained, as Hofstetter added that he had similar problems with police using the tables in front of his hostel on which to spread out items they find when searching suspects.
 
Whatever the problems, Hofstetter's hostel remains continually booked out to between 80% and 90%, a situation many hoteliers would envy.
 


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