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Crime in Europe

London bobbies photo Know the word "Police" in the local language, and you'll be able to yell for help if you need it.

Many first-time travelers to Europe are worried about personal safety. They've heard scare stories about terrorists, kidnappers, and mafiosi, or they've seen too many thrillers about Russian hit men and French thugs. 

In reality, most tourists from abroad have less to fear in Europe than they do at home--at least in terms of violent crime. Consider:

  • In a book titled Crime Is Not The Problem, Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins point out that "London and New York City have nearly the same number of robberies and burglaries each year, but robbers and burglars kill 54 victims in New York for every victim death in London." 
  • The United States has eight times as many murders of young men as Italy, which ranks second among developed countries in that statistical category.
  • In a recent survey, Europeans rated Turkey far safer than the U.S. as a travel destination. And while perception may not always be reality, the survey's results should reassure North Americans who fear that London or Paris may be as dangerous as Atlanta or Detroit.

Pickpockets, purse-snatchers, and petty theft

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In this article:
Introduction Risks and precautions Web links