Tel Aviv tips

Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps, has its own share of challenges facing tourists that could cause them sleepless nights, but Chief Warrant Officer Shmuel Steinbach and Warrant Officer Moshe Akler try to see that doesn't happen, operating out of their Lev Tel Aviv police station, focusing on incidents involving tourists. With its alluring beach and numerous hotels, the city draws many visitors, but by following a few simple rules, Steinbach says, there's no reason tourists need to be particularly worried about visiting the city. Running down a list of dos and don'ts for tourists in his region, which is being handed out as leaflets to visitors this summer, Steinbach includes the following: • Take as little as possible to the beach - "Go with a minimum amount of things and a minimum of money," says Steinbach. "You don't have to bring along all kinds of video cameras, either. Don't bring all your credit cards down with you. Use the safes that the hotels have to store those things there. Don't ask strangers to guard your belongings." • When visiting crowded areas like the Carmel Market, make sure any bags you are carrying are kept closed and close to your person, and in general keep your money and credit cards close to your body and make sure all zippers or buttons on handbags are closed, so that nothing is lost or stolen. • If you take a taxi, make sure to ask for a receipt when you get out. "That way, if you accidentally left something behind, we can have a chance at retrieving it by being able to track down the cab company and driver," he explains. "And check carefully that you didn't leave anything behind." • When staying in a hotel, always ask to see proper identification from anyone claiming to be from the staff who asks for your credit card information. "If someone calls from the lobby saying they're staff and need your credit card number, tell them you'll come down and meet them in person," he suggests. Make sure callers are hotel staff or guests known to you. • Always have your eye on your belongings, especially in the hotel lobby. • While he does not warn tourists against going to any particular sites - "We want them to go everywhere, there are no real dangerous places," he says - be aware in crowded places. If you lose your passport, contact the police right away, who will supply you with the proper forms to report its loss and get a new one. • "Most importantly," says Steinbach, "they should come with lots of enthusiasm and enjoy our sun." The Tel Aviv office from where the two policemen work can be reached by calling (03) 516-1439.