Crime Rates Are Highest In These 5 Well-Known European Cities
In the run-up to the Covid epidemic, Eurostat, the organisation in charge of maintaining European data, released the official theft crime rate for the 2019–2020 time frame. Despite the fact that 2021 or 2022 are not yet covered by the data, it shows where the crime rise was concentrated before the virus struck and suggests a distinct East/West divide.
According to the report, police-recorded theft charges have increased more frequently in five Western EU countries, including Portugal, one of the most well-liked sunny vacation destinations of the year:
- Belgium – 102.2/100,000
- Spain – 95.6/100,000
- Portugal – 87.2/100,000
- Sweden – 83.3/100,000
- Luxembourg – 75.4/100,000
The number of crimes in the EU can vary “widely,” as per Eurostat, and it depends on factors like population size, national laws that differ from one another, and even overestimation because of various “recording techniques.” Although there is further information on intentional homicide and sexual assault, we will just discuss theft because it mostly affects tourists.
To sum up, pickpocketing remains a widespread problem in big cities such as Brussels, Belgium’s capital, which ranks first in terms of police-recorded offences in the 2019–2020 period. In response to an increase in wallet and phone thefts this year, Belgian officials issued their own warning about purse snatchers in the city.
The most recent Home Office Crime Statistics show that in Madrid, the top city in Spain, crime increased by 28.82% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2021. Lisbon had a 7.7% increase in gang activity and teenage crime in 2022 in Portugal, the third-ranked country on the list.
Sweden is apparently dealing with a “very chaotic scenario,” with gun violence on the rise, as stated by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, demonstrating that even Scandinavian countries are not immune to the crime wave. Last but not least, data for Luxembourg reveals an increase in “violent robberies,” up 16% from the period before the outbreak.
In contrast, all five of the countries with the fewest reported thefts are outside of the EU:
- Albania – 3.7/100,000
- Montenegro – 7.7/100,000
- Kosovo – 9.4/100,000
- Serbia – 11.9/100,000
- Türkiye (formerly Turkey) – 12.8/100,000
Does This Indicate That It Is Risky To Travel To Europe?
Officials in Europe may be concerned about slightly higher crime rates, but this does not necessarily imply that these countries are unsafe for travellers. Despite a slight downturn, Europe has recently seen continuous peace and prosperity, and it performs significantly better on the safety front than other global regions, notably the U.S.
In the United States, larceny (including auto theft) is roughly twice as common, and the homicide rate per 100,000 people is getting close to 10.5; in contrast, it is less than 2 in Europe. Additionally, the U.S. has included practically all of Europe under Levels 1 or 2 on their Travel Advisory listings, with the exception of four regions.
For instance, despite being greater than they once were, Sweden’s gun violence statistics are still insignificant enough for the country to hold its coveted Level 1 classification. The same holds true for Luxembourg and Portugal, although Belgium and Spain rate lower in Level 2, mostly because of the potential threat of terrorism, in which case it is advisable to use “enhanced vigilance” in public areas.
Here are some fundamental guidelines you can adhere to to further reduce risks:
- When visiting tourist destinations, maintain a keen sense of situational awareness (e.g., watching your belongings and never accepting gifts from friendly strangers)
- Never carry your wallet in your back pocket, especially in crowded places where you can be struck by someone.
- Always wear your backpack on your front or secure it between your legs when riding the metro.