15 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe

In this article, we will take a look at the 15 most dangerous cities in Europe. You can skip our detailed analysis of these European cities, and go directly to 5 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe.

Europe in general is one of the safest continents with its north western region comprising some of the most developed countries in the world. According to a reported by the United Nations, in the long term, crime has been decreasing in Europe, particularly in the EU countries. On the other hand, the whole of Europe has mixed results when it comes to global crime rate. Take homicide, for example.  Western and eastern European countries have an average rate of 2.5 and 10 incidents per 100,000 individuals, respectively.

For comparison, the global average according to the above source is 7.6 homicides per 100,000 individuals. While Western European countries are way below the global average crime rate, the figures for eastern Europe are not impressive. On the bright side, though, the conditions for safety are improving all over the continent. The effects of the improving law and order situation are evident from the economy. Despite its strict tax and regulatory policies, hundreds of notable companies including Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR Class A (NYSE: RDS.A), UNILEVER N.V. Common Stock (NYSE: UL) and  Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) have headquarters and big offices in different parts of Europe. These companies are thriving as spending power of average Europeans continue to increase. Because of the swiftly improving law and order situation in Western Europe, more and more companies are launching their operations in the region.

However, despite robust institutionalization, factors such as the 2008 financial crisis severely impacted European economy. The crisis was  correlated with a short term increase in crime noticed in the following years in Latvia, Poland and Italy. Coupled with the migrant crisis of 2014, European countries like Sweden and Germany saw an increase in crime rate. So, while crime in Europe is indeed showing a downward trend, externalities like financial collapses among other unrests can disrupt this stable decline. Apart from that, loose border control in EU countries poses another problem for crime prevention.

While it does facilitate free movement for citizens of the member states, it also provides opportunities for criminals to evade justice since law enforcement authorities are limited to the borders of their respective countries. Europol was created to address issues like these and while it has been successful to some extent, the body hasn’t been as effective as the local law enforcement authorities.

However, when it comes to Europe, you can be assured that the continent is much safer crime wise than most other continents like Asia, Africa and America. In fact, when it comes to crime, it’s the only continent that has maintained consistent overall safety standards since 2009. According to the unodc’s report, European countries have largely been able to eradicate much of crime through focus on crime prevention, cross border coordination and evidence led policing.

Although, the whole doesn’t necessarily have to represent the individual parts. There are cities in Europe that are criminally dangerous. Bear in mind though that these cities are only dangerous when you compare them to other European cities.

Here’s a list of 15 most dangerous cities in Europe.

Most Dangerous Cities in Europe

15. Shkodër, Albania

Shkodër is the 4th largest city in Albania with a population of 200,000. Cost Abroad lists the city as one of the most dangerous cities to live in and travel to. A report by Global Initiative designates Shkodër as one of the hotspots for criminal activity due to it being the hub for cannabis paddling. The report claims that the city is rife with criminals involved in drug smuggling, loan-sharking, extortion and human trafficking. As for organized crime, the report suggests the presence of at-least 4 criminal clans active in the city, overseeing major criminal activities. The city ranks 15th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

14. Istanbul, Turkey

Speaking of historical cities that are also dangerous, you can’t miss out on Istanbul. While the city is relatively safer when it comes to crime, the threat of violence in the city is always hanging over like the Sword of Damocles. Turkey’s historical political dispute with ethnic Kurds has had repercussions for the beautiful city. However, the threat of violence in the city increased in the wake of civil war in Syria with the later sharing border with Turkey. The threats emanate not only as a result of political dispute with ethnic Kurds but also from radical extremist groups like Alqaeda and ISIS which have increased their intensity of operations in the wake of unrest in the middle-east. Istanbul attracts targeted attacks in Turkey due to its historical and political significance.

Turkey is seeing a huge rise in tourism revenue as people begin to plan their holidays on the back of an economic revival which will also boost share prices of European companies like Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR Class A (NYSE: RDS.A), UNILEVER N.V. Common Stock (NYSE: UL) and  Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS). .

13. Athens, Greece

The city of Athens has a unique place on the world stage due to the historical monuments located in the city and its rich heritage going all the way back to ancient Greece. The city is known to be the cradle of western civilization. However, lately, the country and by extension, the city of Athens, is going through a crisis brought on by a failed economy resulting in a debt crisis and refugee influx. While the crime rate in Athens was already on a gradual rise, the city was still generally considered safe. However, due to the above mentioned problems, the state of the city has become less than predictable. The city ranks 14th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

12. Naples, Italy

Another Italian city on the list is Naples, a city in southern Italy. Home to the criminal syndicate known as the Camorra, the city is known for organized crime. The Camorra collectively consists of hundreds of clans and thousands of associates. Due to the presence of a large number of gangs under the Camorra umbrella, infighting sometimes breaks out on the city streets that causes losses to citizens’ lives and property.  High level of unemployment also helps the mafia recruit youngsters in their ranks that start out as petty criminals and later rise up the ranks for more serious criminal activities.

Overall, the state of things in the city for safety doesn’t look good as long as organized crime thrives in Naples. The city ranks 13th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

11. Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is a port city in Scotland known for its architecture as well as it’s high crime rate. The homicide rate in Glasgow represents 19% of all homicide cases in Scotland. Let that sink in! All other variables constant, the homicide rate stands at 5.1 per 100,000 individuals which is the highest in Scotland and by extension, one of the highest in Europe. 81,854 crimes were reported in the city in the year 2019-2020. While sexual crimes decreased by 1%, non-sexual violent crimes jumped by 16%.

While crime is gradually on the decline in the city as well as in Scotland itself, the crime figures for the city are still way too high relative to other cities. It’s not out of the woods yet. However, a safer future is promising for Scotland given the fact that crime rates in England and Wales are generally on the rise while declining in Scotland. It has to do with the fact that Scotland enjoys considerable autonomy from the UK which has allowed it to treat crime as a public health crisis rather than simply a law enforcement problem and given the above statistics, it seems to be working in its favour.

The city ranks 11th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

10. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the largest city in Estonia, a country known to have one of the highest homicide rates in all of Europe. The city has a homicide rate  of 5.5 per 100,000 individuals which is crazy when you factor in the city’s population which stands just over 400,000. According to OSAC, police recorded 24,267 crimes in the city in the year 2018 with 40% crimes related to property. The report also states that violent crime saw an increase from the said year by 13%.

The city ranks 10th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

9. Florence, Italy

Another Italian city in our list is Florence. The city recorded 6,209 crimes per 100,000 individuals and grabbed the number 2 spot, just behind Milan, in high crime rate. The most prominent crime which Florence is known for among all other Italian cities is sexual offense.

According to OSAC, Florence has the second-highest crime rate related to petty theft, which increased by 16% from 2018 to 2019 with residential break-ins increased by 20% since 2019. The report suggests the most common crimes foreigners are faced with when visiting Florence are usually petty crimes involving pickpocketing, bag snatching, scamming, etc.

The city ranks 9th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

8. Milan, Italy

Milan recorded an outrageous 6,697 number of cases per 100,000 individuals for theft. For qualitative comparison, this is the highest number of cases out of all Italian cities according to figures from Statista. The city grabbed the number 1 spot for its high crime rate. According to the US’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAS), Milan is particularly troublesome for foreigners as petty criminal networks are quite active in tourist spots around the city looking to pickpocket, snatch valuables and scam foreign tourists.

The city ranks 8th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

7. Grozny, Russia

Grozny is the capital city of Chechnya, Russia and lies in eastern Europe. The city had been battered in the second Chechen war. Although it is making a recovery, it’s still a dangerous place to go. The primary threat is the terror attacks that take place out of the blue in the city. The UN termed the city as the most destroyed one on the planet after the war. Additionally, there has been a wave of attacks against law enforcement personnel in the city.

The city ranks 7th in the list of the most dangerous cities in Europe.

6. Marseille, France

The list would be incomplete if we didn’t mention Marseille, a port city in southern France. The city is historically known to be one of the major trading points in the world. But with the good, comes the bad. The city has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous in France. The crime rate in Marseille is 5 times higher than the national average. Many types of crimes are common in the city like homicides, robbery and gang violence. On top of that, the law enforcement in the city doesn’t have a proper writ in the northern part of the city.

France is home to many companies. including the likes of Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR Class A (NYSE: RDS.A), UNILEVER N.V. Common Stock (NYSE: UL) and  Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS).

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Disclosure: No stakes in Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR Class A (NYSE: RDS.A), UNILEVER N.V. Common Stock (NYSE: UL) and  Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS). 15 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe is originally published on Insider Monkey.