Is Poland Safe For Living and Traveling? A Comprehensive Guide

Data from the European Union supports good rankings for Poland. It is one of the safest countries in the EU, along with Croatia and Lithuania. Last year, only 4.4% of Poles reported incidents of violence, crime, and vandalism. Please note, that the average in the EU is around 11%.

In general, Poland is considered a safe destination for travelers and citizens. According to the Global Peace Index of 2023 it is ranked the 25th safest country in the world. This puts Poland ahead of other popular European destinations like Spain, France, the Netherlands, and England. However, it’s important to note that the criteria used to create this ranking are not entirely explained.

This sentiment is also expressed by the Poles themselves. The national survey revealed that over 90% of residents feel safe in general. So, if you’re considering a trip to Poland, I think safety concerns should not hold you back.

Overview of Poland’s Safety

When it comes to safety, as I already presented, Poland is a country that has a lot to offer. A recent survey conducted by CBOS found that 80% of Poles consider our country to be a safe place to live. That’s a 14% increase when comparing it to the previous year. Basically, it means that fewer people are unhappy with the safety here.

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It’s not just the whole country that’s safe. The survey also found that people feel safe in their local neighborhoods as well. 95% of Poles said they consider the place they live safe, which is 7% more than in the previous survey. This is great news for travelers who are planning a trip to Poland.

It’s worth noting that over the past 15 years, the perception of safety in Poland has improved drastically. For instance, in 1993, there were only 26% of people who felt safe in our country. But now, with these new results, it’s clear that Poland has come a long way in terms of safety. So, if you’re planning a trip to Poland, I think you can consider your travel destination a safe place to visit.

Crime Rates in Poland

If we compare the crime data from the early 2000s to 2021, we’ll see that things have improved. According to statistics from the police headquarters, in 2021 there were over 820,000 crimes reported, with around 590,000 (71%) of them being solved. If you look at the statistics from 2001, you will find out there were 1.39 million crimes reported, and around 750,000 (54%) were solved. So, you can see that not only are there fewer crimes, but the police are also getting better at solving these cases.

The decrease in crime is especially visible in certain categories, like robbery, extortion, and theft. These types of crimes went down from 6473 incidents in 2001 to 5293 in 2021 (18.2% less). The detection rate is also higher by 1.1%. Property theft also dropped. There were 106,682 cases reported in 2019 and 101,296 in 2021.

Safety in Smaller Villages

When it comes to safety, it is worth mentioning smaller towns and villages as well. In Poland, large cities have a crime rate on average of around 8.8%, which is similar to Ireland. However, in rural areas of Poland, only 1.6% of the population reported criminal acts. This means that it’s as peaceful as in the Norwegian countryside and only slightly less safe than in Croatia, Iceland, or Latvia.

Similarly, towns and suburban areas in Poland also fare well compared to other European areas. Only 3.2% of people reported crime, violence, or vandalism – better than in Norway, and only slightly worse than in Croatia. All in all, these statistics show that Poland offers a pretty good level of safety.

The Safest Cities in Poland

It looks like the residents of Bialystok, Gdansk, and Szczecin are feeling pretty safe in their cities. A recent survey ranked these three as the safest in Poland. Bialystok and Gdansk tied for second place, with Szczecin coming in at third place. The rest of the top spots were taken by Warsaw, Gdynia, and Poznan. 

It seems that the residents of Bialystok have a particularly strong sense of security in their city, with nearly half of the neighborhoods being rated higher than four out of five on the safety scale. This isn’t the first time Bialystok has been recognized for its safety.

As for living in Gdansk, it seems that the residents feel pretty safe too. The survey found that sixteen neighborhoods in Gdansk received a score of four or higher out of five, with only two receiving a score lower than three. Even though the city scored well in other categories, safety stood out as it’s particular strength.

The winner of the second edition neighborhood ranking was Przymorze Male, which received a score of 4.34 out of 5 possible points. Second place went to the Bretowo, third place was taken by VII Dwor. These areas are heavily urbanized with full infrastructure not only commercial but also recreational. To be honest, it is hard to find poorly lit or abandoned streets in this part of the city. Bretowo has the lowest crime rate in Gdansk, with 7 crimes per 1000 inhabitants.

Szczecin is known for its unique architecture, particularly the famous star-shaped building in the city center, which is often compared to the architectural solutions in Paris. The city took third place in the survey for safety. The further from the city center, the better.

By the way, please check on my other article, I believe you will find it interesting: Most Dangerous Cities in Poland And Causes Of Crimes

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Safety Tips for Travelers

Regardless of how safety is the country you are in, when traveling, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers and take precaution steps. Here are a few tips for you, when you travel in Poland:

  • Stay alert when you use public transportation. Crowded places can make it easy for pickpocket thieves to target you.
  • When heading back home in the evening, stay away from poorly lit or known as dangerous areas such as parks, side streets, and backyards.
  • When taking a taxi, ask the driver to drop you off as close to your front door as possible.
  • Have your keys ready when entering your building’s stairwell to avoid fumbling through your bag.
  • When it comes to withdrawing or exchanging money, do it during daylight hours and in busy, populated areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money, and if you notice anything suspicious, ask a security guard for help.
  • If you’re carrying a large sum of money, divide it up and keep it in different hidden pockets.
  • Keep a low profile, don’t show off with what you have and don’t make new friends too easily.
    -In case of an attack, stay calm and defend yourself in a way that plays to your strengths, call people for help.

Safety in the Train

When it comes to train travel, it’s always important to take extra precautions to stay safe.

  • Be on high alert in crowded areas such as train stations and public transportation.
  • Be cautious when getting on and off a crowded train, as it’s easy for pickpocketers to target you.
  • Keep an eye on your luggage at all times, especially at night.
  • Carry handbags and backpacks in front of you with the closure facing you to make it more difficult for thieves to steal it.
  • If you’re carrying a large sum of money, divide it up and keep it in different hidden pockets
  • Avoid empty compartments in the wagon at night, especially when traveling alone.
  • Keep valuables, money, and documents with you at all times (not in the bag)
  • Stay away from strangers offering refreshments or making attractive offers, or trying to sell something
  • Report suspicious behavior to train staff, and if you are a victim of theft, contact the police as soon as possible.

Safety in Buses

When traveling by bus, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Before your trip, check the driver’s condition if he is rest, also the bus’s technical condition, such as tires.
  • If you’re taking a long journey, make sure there are two drivers and they switch.
  • If you notice the driver breaking traffic laws, bring it to his attention and remind him of the need to follow the rules.
  • Stay close to the bus during breaks and rest stops.
  • Be extra cautious at bus stations, as they tend to be crowded and are prime targets for pickpocket thieves.
  • Keep an eye on your luggage at all times and carry handbags and backpacks in front of you with the closure facing you.
  • Carry only the necessary amount of money and divide larger sums among different hidden pockets.
  • Don’t accept treats and be wary of attractive offers or deals.
  • If you are a victim of theft, contact the police as soon as possible.