The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe in 2022
Europe has a much lower level of violence than Africa or Latin America. To put it in perspective, São Paulo, the safest of the 27 Brazilian state capitals, would still be more violent than any European country except Russia. So it may sound odd an article about the most dangerous cities in Europe. You can be sure that even the most unsafe city in this ranking is not among the most dangerous cities in the world.Listen to “The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe (BE CAREFUL THERE!)” on Spreaker.
But violence is not always inexistent in Europe. After all, the old continent is home to 44 countries and nearly 800 million people.
While it is safe in general, it is also a very unequal continent.
When we talk about the ten most dangerous cities in Europe, one might assume that the majority of them are in the poorer nations of Eastern Europe.
But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, nine of Europe’s ten most dangerous cities are located in developed, western countries.
Before starting the list of the 10 most dangerous cities in Europe, it is important to understand the criteria behind this ranking.
The criteria to define the most violent cities in Europe
Numbeo’s Crime Index is built using data from cities all over the world and its local inhabitants to determine the severity of perceived crime and safety levels. The survey is conducted twice a year. It focuses on increases in crime over the previous three years, as well as issues regarding break-ins, thefts, robberies, and being attacked in the city.
The statistics are derived from a variety of sources, such as surveys. The questions in these surveys are similar to those in many other scientific and government assessments, and they are treated to eliminate outliers or untrustworthy data.
Numbeo uses data up to 36 months old to generate the index (which is constantly updated). They only include cities with a sufficient number of data points to be statistically reliable.
What is considered “Dangerous” or “Safe”?
Cities with a crime index value of less than 20 have a low prevalence of crime. Some examples of cities with index values less than 20 are Zurich, Bern, Lugano (all of them in Switzerland), or Funchal in Portugal. The worst city in the world in this index is Caracas, in Venezuela, with an index value of 84, followed by Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and Pretoria, South Africa, both scoring 82.
The most dangerous city in Europe scored a whopping 70.76. This is worse than São Paulo (Brazil) or Mexico City. Time to reveal its name and the entire top ten.
A reminder that these numbers don’t take into consideration the recent war between Russia and Ukraine. By the way, we also wrote an article about what you should do in case of conflict.
Is Europe Dangerous?
Europe isn’t dangerous; that’s a simple fact. Comparatively, the violence rates in Europe are incredibly low. Across Europe, the annual homicide rate is 3.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. In comparison with the United States, Africa or Latin America, that is very low. However, as you may discover in the next paragraphs, some cities are becoming increasingly violent, including crimes like sexual assault.
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe in 2022
10th — Malmo, Sweden
Crime Index Score: 56.75
Comparable to: Indianapolis, IN (USA) or Johor Bahru (Malaysia)
Why is Malmo so dangerous:
Over the past two years, Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, has become one of Europe’s most dangerous cities and is sometimes compared to Chicago in the US.
In one single year, Malmo had 65 shootings. Consider that the city has less than 350 thousand inhabitants and this data gives an idea of how violent this Swedish city became.
There were also cases of attacks with hand grenades.
Swedish media say that half of these victims are connected to organized crime networks and gangs. Others attribute it to the city’s changing demographics: Malmo has become a magnet for immigrants over the years —almost 40% of its population comes from abroad.
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Malmo
If you are visiting Malmo, the finest (also in terms of cost-benefit) area to stay in is near Gamla Staden. It’s convenient to everything, and it’s also one of the most attractive places, rich with historical buildings. Furthermore, it is far safer than areas such as Rosengard.
09th — Naples, Italy
Crime Index Score: 58.52
Comparable to: San Francisco, CA (USA) or Noida (India)
Why is Naples so dangerous:
As the regional capital of Campania, Naples is one of the largest cities in Italy. It has a long and rich history, and it’s filled with amazing architecture, arts, and sounds. Unfortunately, Naples is also famous for its crime rate.
This southern Italian city is chaotic and sometimes dangerous. In 2020, Naples was the #1 province in Italy in terms of robberies, which happened at a rate of 95 per 100,000 people.
One Italian described his impressions of Naples for the website The Top Tens:
I am Italian and have actually been to Naples a few times. The first time I was in middle school, I got my wallet stolen as soon as I got there. Then I went again recently for business. The city is, in all honesty, a mess. It’s dirty, noisy, smelly. There are ALWAYS people harassing you, even multiple times in a single day.[…] On the good side, the food is just amazing. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Naples
Last time in Naples, we chose to stay in the Capodimonte district, and we did not regret it! Aside from being considerably cleaner than the city center, the rates are reasonable, and there are several great local trattorias and bakeries nearby. The region’s proximity to major sites such as the Capodimonte Palace and the Catacombs of Saint Januarius is a great bonus.
08th — Nice, France
Crime Index Score: 58.85
Comparable to: Nairobi, Kenya, or Washington, DC, in the United States.
Where should you avoid in Nice?
Nice’s most dangerous neighborhoods are those on the outskirts of the city center, where crime is much higher.
Often residents of these areas fear going out at night or running into criminals while walking around their neighborhood because they are not sure what will happen. Because the police presence is so low in these areas, they are more vulnerable to crime.
With over 2348 CCTVs installed in the streets, public transportation, and parking lots, the center and other districts are relatively “safe.”
Many people remember Nice for what happened on July 14, 2016. On this day, a 19-tonne cargo truck was purposefully pushed into a crowd of people, killing 86 innocents.
However, this was not the city’s first (or last) encounter with violence.
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Nice
The region around the Massena square is a favorite of tourists visiting Nice for a few reasons: besides being safe, it is beautiful and well-connected.
07th — Minsk, Belarus
Crime Index Score: 59.85
Comparable to: Delhi, India or Nantes, France
Is Minsk safe to visit?
While statistics from Belarus may not be the most reliable in Europe, it is no wonder to find Minsk among the most violent cities in this ranking.
The most common crimes in Mink are theft and assault. Street crime is not a common occurrence in the Belarussian capital, but harassment from both organized crime and public agents are among the reasons locals few unsafe.
The US Department of State recently issued a Do Not Travel memorandum for all American citizens, citing, among other things, the possibility of foreigners being harassed by local officers.
There was also the prominent case of a KGB officer involved in a double homicide in 2021.
06th — Nantes, France
Crime Index Score: 60.06
Comparable to: Brasilia, Brazil, or Catania, Italy
Is Nantes a safe city?
Nantes, located on the Loire River’s bank, is the most dangerous city in France on this ranking.
The total crime rate in Nantes has increased during the last years. The most common crimes in Nantes are assaults, fights, rapes, thefts, and burglaries. Especially the districts of Centre-Ville and Les Hauts-Pavés/Saint-Félix are dangerous because the number of assaults occurring there is high.
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Nantes
Our choice here is Centre-Ville, since it has a decent structure and is one of the most connected districts in Nantes.
05th — Catania, Italy
Crime Index Score: 60.36
Comparable to: Ghaziabad, India
Why Catania is dangerous?
Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and has been hit by earthquakes over the years that left their mark on the city. If you look at pictures of the city, you will see that there are large areas of wasteland, abandoned buildings, and factories.
The city has a certain reputation. It is not just tourists who are at risk of being targeted by thieves but also those who live there. The streets are loaded with people who want to make money from tourists, so you need to be careful when you go out after dark.
There are also complex issues with organized crime (also known as mafia) that, for decades, haunted the region. The catholic church in the city even banned nominated godfathers during baptisms to avoid the blessing of criminal ties.
04th — Birmingham, United Kingdom
Crime Index Score: 61.53
Comparable to: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, or Anchorage (Alaska), in the United States.
Why is Birmingham so dangerous?
In 2021, Birmingham had 116.93 crimes reported for every 1000 inhabitants. The third-largest city in England also has the second-worst robbery rate among large English cities, with 3.36 currencies for every 1000 people.
Birmingham has some of the highest crime rates in the country, and many parts of the city are blighted by gangs and drugs.
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Birmingham
03rd — Marseille, France
Crime Index Score: 61.65
Comparable to: Guadalajara, Mexico
Why is Marseille so dangerous?
According to the French writer Charles Dantzig, Marseilles is a port city with a tradition of gangsters.
And he is right. Marseille is a port city on France’s southeast coast, near the mouth of the Rhone. It’s one of France’s largest cities and has a population of nearly 900,000.
Unfortunately, Marseille suffers from high levels of crime (compared to other parts of France), with gang violence and pickpocketing being the most common offenses affecting tourists.
The most dangerous areas to avoid in Marseille are the northern suburbs — neighborhoods such as L’Estaque and Le Panier are plagued by crime. However, it’s important to realize that other parts of Marseille can be equally dangerous — especially at night.
In 2021, a string of murders in Marseille has sparked a political uproar over drug gang turf wars terrorizing poor housing estates, where one recent shooting victim was only 14 years old.
The Best (and Safest) District to Stay if You Are Travelling to Marseille
The Old Port district of Marseille is the heart of the city, very close to the antique Hellenistic port. Nowadays it offers a nice walk on both side, with many bars and restaurants.
02nd — Coventry, United Kingdom
Crime Index Score: 69.45
Comparable to: Lima, Peru, or Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Why is Coventry so dangerous?
Coventry is an English city located in the West Midlands, approximately 100 miles northwest of London. It is the tenth-largest city in England and the 12th largest in the United Kingdom.
The city is known for being the birthplace of St. George, but also has a history of figuring among the most dangerous cities in the UK and Europe.[
The crime rates, however, are falling drastically in Coventry, and maybe these rankings are being slightly unfair. Between 2020 and 2021, the city had a decrease of almost 50% in its crime rate. While in 2020, Coventry had 29,615 crimes, in 2021 there were only 15,258 occurrences.
Therefore, it is understandable why, this year, Coventry lost the top spot to another British city.
01st — The most dangerous cities in the UK is also the most dangerous city in Europe
Bradford, United Kingdom
Crime Index Score: 70.76
Comparable to: Saint Louis, MO, United States, or Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Why is Bradford so dangerous?
Bradford is a city in the North of England. It’s quite a dangerous city, with crime rates almost twice the national average.
Crime in Bradford is mostly centered around drugs, prostitution, and violent crime. The most dangerous part of Bradford is the city center, but other areas such as Girlington, Clayton, Little Horton, and Manningham are also quite dangerous.
For a few years, the city was a hotspot for rapes and sexual assaults, particularly in Keighley, a Bradford district that was also home to one of the many child grooming gangs operating in the UK at the time.
Bradford is a relatively poor city by UK standards. The government is pouring money into the city in the hope that better living conditions will also help to solve the violence problem.
In one year Bradford, a city with 536 thousand residents, had
- 1,724 Occurrences of burglary
- 2,448 Occurrences of Vehicle Crime
- 4,888 Occurrences of criminal damage and arson
And here is the most impressive statistics:
- 22,870 Sexual offenses, and it is getting worse. Sexual offenses correspond to 42% of all crimes committed in Bradford.
Travel Safety Tips
If you are traveling to any of the cities listed in this ranking (or elsewhere), there are a few things you can do to travel SAFER and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
1st – Buy travel insurance that also covers theft-related expenses. Although it is often very inexpensive to purchase such insurance in Europe, many people ignore this small precaution and end up disappointed. I recommend the company Ekta, which provides some of the most innovative solutions for travelers, allowing you to relax and enjoy your vacation without worry.
2nd – Don’t let “drivers” trick you by offering to pick you up at the airport or train/bus stations. They often try to cheat people, which can be dangerous. I prefer to use GetTransfer, a website that compares multiple, reputable transfer providers and offers you the best price. It is the best way to plan ahead of time.
3rd – Avoid walking around with your luggage. Radical Storage is a website that shows safe locations where you can leave your luggage, pay a small fee, and pick it up after touring the city.
Conclusion: Crime in Europe – The Most Dangerous Cities
According to the Numbeo Crime Index Ranking, these are the 10 most dangerous cities in Europe.
- 10th — Malmo, Sweden
- 9th — Naples, Italy
- 08th — Nice, France
- 07th — Minsk, Belarus
- 06th — Nantes, France
- 05th — Catania, Italy
- 04th — Birmingham, United Kingdom
- 03rd — Marseille, France
- 02nd — Coventry, United Kingdom
- 01st — Bradford, United Kingdom
Some curious facts about them:
- None of the most dangerous cities in Europe analyzed are even close to being among the most dangerous cities in the world, although Bradford comes close in terms of sexual assaults.
- 60% of all the cities in this ranking are either in the UK or France.
- Only 1 city is located in eastern Europe: Minsk.
- This ranking didn’t take into consideration the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
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Levi Borba is the CEO of expatriateconsultancy.com, creator of the channel Small Business Hacks, and best-selling author. Subscribe to my articles (for free) and receive (also for free) the ebook “The Blueprint for First-Time Business Owners”.