No matter what is the destination, the most important criterion is always the safety of the public. When we sit down with a world map and plan a holiday, the only deciding factor isn’t where we want to go or how big is our budget. According to a study, for 46% of people public safety is one of the most important aspects, and to 63% of people with children it is the most important aspect.
It doesn’t matter how amazing a country is with its many beauties, if public safety is no good.
Among foreigners Budapest is very popular, touristically it is one of the most visited cities in the world.
The reason for this is along with the good prices, the airline connection is good, and its architectural, gastronomical and cultural offer is also attractive.
No matter where you travel in Hungary, may your destination be Budapest, Szeged, Pécs or the Balaton, the public safety is perfect.
Hungary is among the top 17 safest countries in the world
The public safety in Hungary is solid! According to the newest record from the Global Peace Index, Hungary is the 17th safest country in the world. At the top of the list is Iceland, then New Zealand. At the bottom of the list, just like the year before, is war-torn Syria, before it Afghanistan, Irak, South-Sudan and Yemen.
Hungary’s public safety has only improved in the past 10 years. The country’s public safety index has also improved, as during the fall of 2015, when the refugee crisis broke out, they protected our borders.
According to the Eurostat study made public in august, Hungary got to the top of the EU list with regards to spending a portion of its GDP on public security. They spend 2,1% of Hungary’s GDP for this purpose, and only the Bulgarian, Slovakian, Romanian, Croatian and the Polish Government spends more than this. Among the western countries, the Portugalian, Spanish and the British index reaches the 2%. Luxemburg, Denmark and Ireland spends 1% of their GDP to public security.
Public safety is also judged by how much do people trust the police. According to the Eurobarometer-study among the Hungarian citizens 36% of them trusted officers in 2011, but since then it has almost reached 45%. Among these, Spanish people had the highest percentage in the EU, where more than 50% of the citizens trusted the authorities at the time of the study.
Public safety in Budapest
At the latest 2019 Crime Prevention Statistics stated the following about the public safety in Budapest:
“The number of crimes in Hungary, including the number of serious crimes have further declined in 2018. PRE-STAT contains data for the past ten years: back then over 430 thousand crimes were registered by authorities, in 2018 this number was 185 thousand, after the number dropped by 30 thousand since 2017. The improvement of public safety was also fascinating among serious, so called “High-profile” crimes: in 2010 it was over 240 thousand, in 2018 it has fallen under 100 thousand all over the country.”
These crimes are treated as serious: murder, theft, underage endangerment, human trafficking, stealing, crimes related to drugs, blackmailing and car theft.
185,000 crimes may seem a lot in a year, but compared to Germany, this number is above 5 million, in the Netherlands 1,6 million and in France 3,8 million.
Which district is the safest in Budapest?
According to the latest statistics, it can be said that the outskirts, or the bordering districts are the safest in Budapest. Among these, 16 and 17 is the safest, followed by district 4.
Number of crimes among 1000 people in 2018
|District||Buda / Pest||Crimes within 1000 people|
* Just for comparison. This number in Berlin (Germany) is 67,64!
The most crimes happen downtown, in district 5-6-7-8, where tourists are the most frequent. The number of crimes distorts the actual situation, as the higher than average number of tourists in these areas may potentially bring more crimes in these districts. Here we mostly talk about incidents in the party district. These would be being too loud, vandalism, theft, fighting, which often happens between pretty drunk tourists.
Budapest is completely safe
Being from Budapest, my humble opinion is that Budapest is completely safe!
District 8 has been known as the worst one for decades. There were many drug and theft problems. Since then the old, worn apartments have been bulldozed. New and new condiments have been built. The old “ghetto” feeling has changed.
This is due the fact that the city administration got enough of the crimes happening in district 8, and completely changed the whole neighbourhood. After a few years it is now in order. The Palotanegyed and Corvin-negyed in district 8 is especially cozy and is visited by many tourists.
However, the smaller streets in district 8, inwards from the Blaha Lujza tér, the Népszínház street and surrounding streets (Bérkocsis street, Víg street, Auróra and Fecske street) are still pretty dodgy. Part of the Magdolna-negyed in district 8 has remained as a ghetto, so to say. This area has improved a lot over the past few years. Unfortunately the Dankó and Lujza street still has a lot left to be desired. The Orczy Square can also be avoided.
The streets listed above are only a small portion of Budapest, and there aren’t many things to be seen there anyway, so you won’t lose anything by avoiding them.
I disagree with the statistics stating that district 5 is dangerous. The fact that it’s on top of the list is possibly due to the party quarter in it, but other then that it is one of the most maintained district downtown. No matter which part of it you end up in, it’s always safe.
According to the statistics, districts 4-16-17 are the safest in Budapest. But because these are far away from all the sightseeing things, so I don’t recommend them, and as I’ve mentioned it before, Budapest is absolutely safe.
For those who would like to be as close to the main attractions as possible, on Pest side districts 5-6-13, and on Buda district 1 are a good choice.
Buda or Pest?
As opposed to the areas downtown, the Buda side, with a bit of exaggeration, is like being in a different country. It’s the complete opposite of Pest. Pest is busy, Buda not so much, everyone is more relaxed and laid back. Buda is quieter, Pest’s downtown areas get loud at night. Pest lays on flatland, has more buildings and therefor there are less greens, while Buda lays on the Budai mountains. Due to the larger amount of people there are more crimes in Pest, then in Buda.
Homeless people in Budapest
In 2018, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law which prohibits living in public spaces. They try to improve the homeless situation with social help and by building more homeless shelters.
Since then, Budapest’s image has improved greatly, there are less homeless in the underground tunnels, parks and other places.
Pocket thieves in Budapest
According to police data, approximately 80-90 pocket thieves are “working” on public transportations and other busy places in Budapest.
In the past 5 years, the Budapest police has been all over pocket thieves, and arrested many of them. Half of them were of foreign nationality. The constant attention made its effect, the number of thieving incident has dropped to a third of it in the past 5 years. Foreign thieves moved to more profitable European cities.
Tips to avoid thieves:
- Avoid bigger crowds and darkness, as crowds attract thieves like magnets.
- Be careful when someone bumps into you “accidentally”, or locks arms with us charmingly.
- Don’t keep your wallet or phone in your jean’s pocket.
- Don’t leave your valuables without supervision even for a second.
- Only carry as much cash, that you plan to spend on the day.
- Always keep your bags closed, right next to you or front of you.
- Never write your PIN code on your bank card holder.
If the trouble is done:
If you catch the thief, loudly ask for help immediately. Don’t let the thief run away, if possible keep him there and call the police. (call 112) The louder you are, the more attention you will gain. The thief don’t want to be recognized, so people can describe how he looks, so he will try to run.
If you realize what happened too late, immediately reconstruct the events leading up to it and report it to the authorities.
What’s the story with other cities in Hungary?
Other Hungarian cities also have good public safety. From the table below, you will see that only Győr beats Budapest in number of crimes. Debrecen, Szeged, Sopron, Veszprém all have great public safety.
Number of crimes in cities with over 50,000 people in 2018
|City||Crimes within 1000 people|
If you like to travel, but don’t want to spend too much and want to feel safe, then travel to Hungary.
Get to know the thousand sides of Hungary, where the history goes back a thousand year, and let the attractions, unique views and exciting tastes take you over.