There is a high level of unrest in the world today with crime rates soaring in some of the major cities throughout Europe. Travelers who are making plans to visit any European cities must take care to learn about the areas they're planning to go in advance of setting their itineraries. There are some places which should simply be avoided because they're so extremely dangerous.
It's easy to become the victim of a crime if you're not familiar with the culture, the people or the environment. Here are the 20 most dangerous cities in Europe for 2019 ranked in accordance with their homicide and other types of crime rates, as well as a few which have other extreme danger factors.
20. Brussels, Belgium - 2.8 homicides per 100k
Brussels, Belgium is one of the most dangerous cities in all of Europe. The city averages 2.8 homicides per 100k people annually. It is the capital of the European Union. as many as 44 homicides were registered in a single year, but the average is an estimated 31 per year. It's not the most dangerous city in Europe, but it does rank high on the crime scale for murder, burglaries, and assault.
19. Zurich, Switzerland 3.0 murders per 100k
Zurich comes in right behind Brussels in the number of murders averaged in a year. It's the largest city in Switzerland, which is located in the central portion of Europe. Although demographically, it's not as large as Brussels, and there are only an average that runs between 4 and 11 homicides in a year, the rate is high with an astounding 3 murders for every 100k people. While some years have seen as few as 1 murder in a year, some years are worse than others, and over a nine-year average, there are more murders per capita than in the larger city of Brussels.
18. Kiev, Ukraine 3.2 murders per 100k
Kiev is the capital city of the Eastern European country Ukraine. The violent crime rate in Kiev is extremely high with the average of 100 murders committed each year. The most common places where these crimes occur in at the suburbans trains and in or around the city's public transit system. Kiev tends to be a massively overcrowded are, and it's easier for an assailant to commit a crime and then flee, getting lost in the crowd. Kiev has had up to 118 murders committed in a single year.
17. Riga, Latvia 3.3 murders per 100k
Riga is even more violent than Kiev. The average is 23 murders and when compared to the population of the city, the homicide rate is 3.3 per 100k residents. Riga is the biggest city in the Baltic country of Latvia. Riga is a tourist destination and although there is relative safety in the historic part of the city, you have to watch out for the parks and the Old Town district because these are the places where the most crimes occur including murder and pick pocketing.
16. Belfast, Northern Ireland 3.3 murders per 100k
Belfast is Northern Ireland's largest city. There were a total of nine murders in a population of 286,00 for a crime rate of 3.3 per hundred thousand residents. Although the crime rate in Belfast is high, it's been trending downward because of the resolution of the political unrest experienced during the 1970s and 1980s eras. The slowdown in political activism has resulted in a positive trend towards making Belfast a safer city, but for the present, it is still among the top 20 most dangerous cities in all of Europe.
15. Podgorica, Montenegro 3.5 murders per 100k
Podgorica is the country of Montenegro's largest city, as well as the capital of the nation. Montenegro was formerly known as a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the city was named Titograd, but the names have been changed due to political changes and negotiations. Podgorica at one time had a homicide rate of 6.5 per 100k residents, but the current rate is 3.5 per 100k people.
14. Moscow, Russia 4.2 murders per 100k
Moscow is the capital of the country of Russia and it is also the largest city in existence within the entire European continent. It is the home of 12.2 million people and serves as the center of culture in Europe. The city is near the Moskva River. There have been fluctuations in the number of murders committed within the last decade with a low of 483 in a year and a high of 767. The number of violent crimes occurring within Moscow is decreasing slightly but there are other crimes which are problematic in the city, including car theft, which keeps the crime rate remarkably high and puts everyone at significant risk.
13. Vilnius, Lithuania 4.7 murders per 100k
12. Vilnius is even more dangerous than Moscow. It is the largest city in the Baltic country of Lithuania, and also the capital city. Within the last decade, the crime rates have gone down as the highest percentage of murders rocketed to 10.4 per 100k in 2008, but it's gone down significantly to 4.7, which is still too high to feel safe. Some other crimes which are prolific in the city include credit card theft and pick pocketing.
11. Glasgow, Scotland 5.1 murders per 100k
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city. It's located within the United Kingdom. Glasgow has long been experiencing issues with organized gangs who engage in turf wars. There are many deaths as a result as well as other violent crimes. This makes Glasgow one of the least safe cities in the entire United Kingdom, as well as within the country of Scotland. 5.1 murders per 100k means that there is an increased risk for any one person to become the victim of a violent crime.
10. Tallinn, Estonia 5.5 murders per 100k
Tallinn is an Estonian city that is located on the country's northern coast. The population is relatively small with just 443,894 residents, but there have been 22 to 40 homicides in the country per year in the last decade. The amount of murders per capita which take place is unusual for this portion of Europe. When the crime rate was at its all-time high, there were up to 9.4 murders per 100k, but it's come down to 5.5 which is still terribly high, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the entire continent of Europe. Five of the most dangerous cities in Europe are rated by their overall crime rate which includes murder, pick pocketing and other types of corruption and inequalities.
9. Kristiansand, Norway
Kristiansand is located in the southern part of Norway, and it is the fifth-largest city in the country by population count. Within the last decade, there has been a significant rise in crime rates. Many of them are violent and are drug-related. The statistics show that a large number of offenders involved in these crimes are young people.
8. Turin, Italy
Turin is the home of the train station called Porta Nuova. It's one of the most unsafe places in the city, which is, unfortunately, one of the most dangerous cities in Europe. The city is bereft of pickpockets and thieves, but there are also more violent crimes such as muggings and murders. Two other extremely hazardous parts of Turin include Porta Plazzo and San Salvario neighborhoods. These are the areas that have the highest incidences of crime within the city.
7. Naples, Italy
Naples also has a bad reputation and it's been dubbed the "Sin City" of Italy. There are high unemployment rates in the city and organized crime has a firm foothold. This increases the amount of corruption and petty crime that takes place in the boundaries of the city. There is also a high violent crime rate. It's not a place that you want to wander around along in if you're not familiar with the area. It's one of the most dangerous cities in Europe.
6. Marseille, France
Marseille France is even more dangerous than Naples. Although the majority of crimes in the city are petty, including pick pocketing and other types of crime, there is also a high crime index because the police presence in the city is so low. There are high degrees of inequality and corruption in the city and a lack of investment in law enforcement. It's almost as though you're on your own and help is not always quick to arrive when you become the victim of a violent or petty crime. The top five most dangerous cities in all of Europe, according to Graphic Maps are places with the highest incidences of murders and other types of violent crimes. These are cities which you should probably avoid visiting unless you have no other choice because even the residents do not feel safe living there.
5. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia is the capital city of the country of Bulgaria. Travelers have long been frightened of visiting the city because of the high number of robberies and thefts which take place in the country. Although there has been a decrease in the crime rate, it's still high enough to make 30% of the residents of Sofia confide that they do not feel safe in the city and that it's not a place where they have ever felt safe. Organized crime activities are high in the city, and to highlight the danger, a radio host was murdered in broad daylight by a notorious gangster.
While he was arrested for the crime, he was released because everyone who saw the incident was too afraid of him to testify against him and they had to let him go. Even prosecutors and judges know that if they don't operate by teh rules established by the organized crime bosses, they will be killed. Contract murders are high in Sofia and none of the killers are ever brought to justice because there isn't anyone with the power to bring the crime to an end. There is also frequent rioting in the city with Bulgarians attacking Roma gypsies who are not welcome in the city.
4. Mitrovica, Kosovo
Mitrovica is a city that has been divided between the Serbs and the Albanians. Ethnic riots spur killings and other violent acts in the city that is divided. There is a constant tension between the two groups and dangerous fights break out without warning. There is also a high rate or organized crime and corruption taking place within the city, which is run inefficiently and the police are not that much help for victims because of the high criminal presence in the city.
3. Grozny, Russia
Grozny was hit hard by war in the last ten years. The shelling, bombing, and missile attacks have caused a lot of damage to the city's structure. There have been many assassinations completed in Grozny with thousands of people killed in political and war events. Even though things are beginning to improve, there is still a high level of criminal and political murders in the city.
The Russian Mafia is a very powerful presence to this day in the city, and there are many displaced residents who are unemployed or homeless and they live on the streets. With so many houses destroyed the rebuilding is ongoing and hundreds of thousands of people are forced to inhabit old abandoned houses without electricity or running water. This breeds desperation and the criminal acts which follow.
2. Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi is a major city in Georgia which is known as the second most dangerous city in Europe today. After the 2008 conflict with Russia, this is one part of Georgia where there is a consistent growth of public unrest complete with violent acts and rising crime rates. Protesters evoke riots in which people lose their lives, and police are known to use excessive force without accountability. The city suburbs are racked with explosions and there have also been bombings attempted. Although there has been a lot of improvements made to the security of the city, the crime risk is still ridiculously high and there are also terrorist activities within the city.
1. Istanbul, Turkey
The most dangerous city in all of Europe is Istanbul, Turkey. The city is filled with terrorism which is an ongoing threat that the residents have lived with for decades. There are threats from many terrorist groups which include Kurdish separatists, Al-Quaeda and others who periodically set off a bomb in one location of the city or another. There is also the risk of muggings and thefts as in any other city in Europe, but the terrorists' threats are the most intense threats at this time.
You can also read:
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson