Welcome to Poland – leave your front door unlocked, your fancy car unalarmed and yourself unprotected. The figures say you’ll be just fine.
Eurostat, the EU’s official home of presentations, pie charts and PDF files just released the crime figures* for the EU and some Friends of the EU (Iceland, Norway) up through 2008 and they were chock full of numbery goodness. In short, they claim that Italians are car thieves, Lithuanians are mass-murderers, all that white stuff in Norway is NOT snow (it’s blow), British people enjoy a bit of burgling and some senseless violence on the side and the French are most likely to kick your ass while trying to take your wallet …which is odd, considering their “surrender monkey” moniker.
For Poles and people who live in Poland the car theft figures will come as a crushing shock as we generally consider ourselves excellent car thieves but it is quite possible that our car thieves have found gainful if unethical employment abroad.
Let’s run through the numbers, shall we?
Dial “M” for Murder
Poland is, generally speaking, safe. You are more likely to take an unexpected dirt nap in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria (no surprise there), Ireland, France (probably the foreigners doing it), Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia (they’re all mad men there), Finland (likely a lot of murder-suicides), and the UK (yobs, northerners, etc.). The worst of the worst are Estonia and Lithuania …and Albania, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia and the rest of that lot aren’t very safe either. Estonia and Lithuania are the shockers here, though. Poles would apparently be safer if they lived in Greece (surely their statistics can’t be trusted), Germany (NO COMMENT), Spain (tapas: an anti-psychotic drug?), Italians (probably untrue – likely the mob killed all the statisticians), Norway (obviously), Sweden and Austria (also NO COMMENT).
Dial V-I-O-C-R-M, extension 1 then option 3 and ask for “Violent Crime”
Eurostat says violent crime is physical assaults, robbery (theft by force or threat of force) and sexual offenses (rape). This does not include any time you’ve ever felt you’ve been bent over when paying a notary or paying for an oil change at a dealership. Poland, so say the stats, is even safer than Switzerland – just one in roughly 715 people will have to deal with a violent crime in Poland. Greece claims to be safer than Poland (still lying). Unsurprisingly, the UK is the worst here, with roughly 1.75 percent of the population (1 in 57 people) experiencing some sort of violent crime. Austria is a close second after the UK with Belgium and Sweden close. Norway, sadly, is not as safe as it should be: 1 in 204 people will suffer a violent crime in the world’s most beautiful country. Romania claims to be the safest or the most likely not to report violent crimes because they say that only 1 in 3,300 people are affected by violent crime there. Strange but, so they claim, true.
Don’t Bother the Police, It Was Only a Maluch
More strange, surprising, shocking and salaciously scintillating stats: you are far more likely to get your car stolen while on holiday unless you happen to be on holiday in Poland. Your car is marginally safer in Turkey (really???), Slovenia (I assume they steal snowmobiles), Romania and Bulgaria. Everywhere else you are more likely to end up riding the bus because your car’s been nicked. Worst is Denmark, followed by Sweden (surprising), Italy (not surprising), France (not at all surprising), then the Ireland and the UK. Quick anti-theft advice: put a “Protected by Smith and Wesson” stick on your ride and occasionally take pot shots at potential thieves or guilty-looking people near your car. Word will get around.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Norwegians are most likely to be growing, selling, transporting, importing and exporting drugs, rather than fish or those sweaters. The high and mighty in Luxembourg are not too far behind and after that it drops off pretty quickly, with Estonia, Belgium, Latvia and Finland leading the last third of the pack. Down at the bottom are the sober Poles (you will NEVER see those two words together again) and their tee-totaling friends in France and Slovakia.
The Boys in Blue
…aka the Thin Blue Line …aka The Force …aka doughnut-drunking, cheap coffee-swilling, “what smells like bacon?” fuzz. Cyprus has more cops per 1,000 people than anywhere else which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Italy has the second most cops/population except, amusingly enough, they only reported figures up to 2006 – I assume after that the mob bought the rest or Berlusconi has them escorting hookers around. Poland is in the bottom third here: one in 385 people are cops here which is about the same as Slovakia and a bit higher than Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The UK has slightly more cops/population (one for every 370 people), Germany has a bit more than that, France clearly doesn’t have enough cops even though they have one for every 285 people, Greece has loads of do-nothing cops (one for every 220 people) and Turkey has even more bribe-takers with one for every 212 people.
So, there you have it: not only is Poland fairly safe we manage to keep the country relatively crime-free with fewer cops than most places. All (or most) joking aside, that’s something we can be proud of.
* Point your web browser here to get your very own copy of Eurostat’s Crime and Criminal Justice …Tolstoy, eat your heart out!