Most travelers I think would report to police if they got theft while traveling.

One reason, and I think the sole reason they report to police is to get reparation by their insurance company for the lost items (or in the case of passport, to get the proof of being stolen).

But otherwise, is there any benefit on reporting to police, given that it has practically no chance to get your stolen items back (and in most cases police would have no incentive to make any actions for foreigners leaving soon)? I travel without any insurances so wonder if there is any single merit on reporting...

2 Answers 2


In some countries, if a mobile phone is stolen the network provider will block the phone but only once you report the theft to the police.

The objective is to render the phone useless and so deter future theft. It won't make much difference to you personally.


You might have insurance that you're unaware of, such as a credit card that will replace stolen items purchased with the card for a period of time. Even if you discover that you have this insurance later, you may need the report to make a claim.

A police report provides a sworn statement that you can use as evidence that something was no longer in your possession after a certain time. This might be useful if you need to contest phone bills or credit card charges or if your property later turns up in connection with a crime.

It's possible that you'll get your items back, particularly if they can be described with specificity. Random cash, probably not, but a cell phone with serial number XYZ, it's at least possible. Even if it's unlikely for the police to go to any particular effort on your behalf, they'll have the information in their property database and may come across your property during other investigations. If you don't file a report, they won't know to contact you.

Reports of thefts also help the government gain information about the amount and location of crime, which could be used to help prevent theft in the future. Some governments are interested in attracting tourists and may take crime against visitors especially seriously because of the reputational damage it causes. Even if no specific action is taken on your report, it could be used to deploy more police to an area or investigate a broader pattern of criminal activity.

Some police departments in the United States (and based on a quick search, other countries as well) allow you to file simple police reports online for theft, which avoids most of the hassle of spending your vacation time talking to the police.

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