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La Rochelle is not known for being particularly dangerous and visitors should not be concerned about being a victim of violence. Theft does happen, though, and tourists still need to be careful, as they are often targeted by criminals. Be especially cautious around touristy areas like historic sites, museums and on buses or trains. If you are driving in La Rochelle, don't leave valuables in the car, especially electronics like computers, music players and cameras. To avoid muggings, don't walk by yourself, especially in isolated areas or after dark. If you are using an ATM make sure that nobody watches as you enter your PIN. If you are a victim of a crime, report it to the nearest US embassy or consulate as well as the local authorities.
If engaging in water sports, make sure you practice basic safety precautions like wearing life vests. If operating a motorized water vehicle like a boat or a jet ski, familiarize yourself with the safe operation of the vehicle before heading far from shore. Don't let the language barrier get in the way of basic safety. Operations like scuba gear rental, bike rental, or jet ski rental places are often required to provide you with the necessary safety gear for your activity.
For more information about safe travel while in France, see the US Department of State's
France travel page.