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How Safe Are the Polish Cities?

31 Mar 2006 #1
"Last week early in the morning two of my son's friends on their way to work were beaten up. They were passing the Old Marketplace when two bandits for no reason whatsoever attacked them and beat them up. Nothing was stolen. It was just for fun. There was no Police, no City Guard. Myself, I feel quite safe, because I don't leave home, but I see what happens outside through the window, and I am scared. I only saw a policeman twice in the last six month."


During the socialist regime, whose reign came to an abrupt end in 1989, Poland was one of the safest countries in Europe. The Polish Police, so called "Milicja" had almost unlimited power and ruled the cities with an iron fist. Wherever you went there was always a policeman in the vicinity. Sometimes you had a feeling that every other person in the street was either a regular policeman or a secret one. No wonder that the streets were safe.

Once the old regime collapsed, so did the Police force. Hated for their support of the oppressive form of socialism that was ruling the country for half a century, the Police were in no time relegated into the background. Since the people were allowed to say whatever they wanted - not that anyone cared - there was no need anymore for that many spies and secret police. Also the new republic based on the market economy suddenly noticed the economic realities. The Police costs money that could better spent elsewhere and the Police did not contribute anything to the ailing Polish budget. As a result thousands of secret agents and regular policemen were no longer needed and were given the boot.

This abrupt change - not only in Poland, but also in other new "democracies," Russia being the scariest example - let until now dormant powers to surface. All of a sudden and almost immediately Poland had an organized mafia, scores of bandits and robbers roaming the streets, hoods attacked innocent people on streets and in their homes. What was even scarier, many of the former policemen and secret agents, without any offers of new employment, went over to the other side. Poland was almost in a state of anarchy.

I won't be talking about the organized crime on this occasion, since it is a huge subject in itself, just about the safety on the streets, the way a citizen perceives it.

Unfortunately in today's new economic climate, with over 20% unemployment, many people do not have a job, and the support offered by the state rightly can be called a joke offering. A very meager support of just a few hundred zloty and that for one year only. After that it is social security and for many it means living in the street when money is not sufficient to rent a flat.

No wonder, many choose "easy money," a Robin Hood mentality. After all, there are many people that make good money in the system, and it is no more than fair that they share with others what they have, they reason. Thus, break-ins and robberies are common. Young unemployed gentlemen wait in the street corners more than happy to free aged ladies from their handbags. A common strategy is to wait in a bank for someone to lift a substantial amount of cash and, subsequently, follow them to their apartment. A middle-aged handicapped lady I know, was followed home from a bank by two young and strong men. Once she opened the door to the apartment, the gentlemen asked for her bag with the money and when she tried to resist and cried, she was badly beaten.

It is also wise not to carry chains of gold or golden ear-rings, since it is not uncommon that perpetrators will snatch it off your neck or even worse, your ears. Even mobile phones are attractive and many a youth have had to hand them over for free to the people they do not even know.

Stealing and robbing is one thing, but being beaten up for no reason whatsoever, which is quite common, is another. Many young men that have nothing better to do, hang in parks and streets outside their own homes waiting for a suitable delinquent to come along. It seems they feel that beating up someone offers much more entertainment value than watching Schwartzenegger (you know - Arnold) do it on the screen. You can play a sociologist and try to deduct the reason behind this kind of meaningless aggression, the fact remains for many youngsters beating up someone is the best way of spending an evening.

Whether the Polish cities are safe is a complicated question; during the day and in the middle of the town, there is probably not much danger, but in the dark and especially in the suburbs, stranger beware. Unless you are a karate-kid on an exploratory trip into the danger zone, you'd be better off staying back in your hotel room.

31 Mar 2006 #2
That's not how I see things. Here in Wroclaw things are OK. Mobile phones do get stolen, that's true. But you have to be really unlucky to get beaten up or mugged. That's true of any place in any country.

31 Mar 2006 #3
I partly agree with Steve - you don't want to be near the Wroclaw train station (Wroclaw downtown) when the fans from another city come to watch the soccer game :}.
31 Mar 2006 #4
Be careful this Saturday then.

9 Jun 2006 #5
a few weeks back got punched about after been run out ot the rynek in Krakow.
just bad luck. wrong place at the wrong time.
10 Jun 2006 #6
poland is a bit of a hole
11 Jun 2006 #7
Poland is a LOT safer than the UK.

Besifde what do you mean by "democracy" and where did you get that number about unemployment ?

The official unemoloyment rate in Poland is 16,5% - and the unofficial number is 11%.
11 Jun 2006 #8
The official unemoloyment rate in Poland is 16,5% - and the unofficial number is 11%.

Maybe in the Warsaw region. The official unemployment rate in Poland is 18%. If you count people who work outside Poland, the real rate would be about 25%.
11 Jun 2006 #9
Do you know what unemployment is ? You are unemployed when you`re registered as an unemployed and you`re reciving an unemployment benefit - those who WORK abroad OR are working in the black economy are usually registered as unemployed and are recieving unemployment benefit - so they DON`T make the official unemplyment rate higher, but in REALITY they DO HAVE A JOBS - so the official unemployment rate is higher than it is in reality.

The - OFFICIAL - unemployment rate in Warsaw is 5,4% while for the whole country it is 16,5% - check out some GUS or EU statistics.
11 Jun 2006 #10
btw. here are the OFFICIAL GUS numbers in various Polish cities:

..................marzec---kwiecie 4;
Warszawa---- 5,5------5,4
1;ódź--------- 16,0-----15,5
Kraków------ 7,0------6,6
Wroc 2;aw----- 10,8-----10,5
Pozna 4;------ 6,1------5,9
Gda 4;sk------ 9,2------8,8
Szczecin----- 14,1-----13,8
Bydgoszcz---- 10,7-----10,3
Katowice----- 7,4------7,1
Bia 2;ystok-----13,1-------12,5
Toru 4;---------12,2-----11,6
11 Jun 2006 #11
^^^ those numbers are 2 months old when the official unemployment rate for the whole country was 17,2% - by now most of those numbers ought to be lower by some 0,5-1% points. That`s becaouse last quarter we had a GDP growth of 5,2%
11 Jun 2006 #12
"Steven" are you "commieR".. ehm.. "polReport" in hiding ?
bossie 1 | 123
11 Jun 2006 #13
I don't see why you are fighting over statistics. It has little to do with street safety.

The quoted article must be old - it's been 17 years of democracy now, mafia has been handled (at least the 'civilian' divisions, I don't know about industrial/political influence). The police has increased in numbers, a new generation of officers has been recruited. If there are no wardens walking or driving around, they are likely to come quicly once alarmed by phone. There are some general rules to follow though.

My opinion? Stick to the west half of the country, preferably cities. Stick to the city centres where there are some foreigners, excluding railway stations, where homeless go. Stay away from outskirts and concrete jungle as well as places known for hostility towards foreigners (e.g. notorious Nowa Huta or Lodz). Say hello to your neighbours so that you're seen as one of them, not the 'stranger'.

About wrong times and wrong places? Avoid anyone who may have been drinking (in all humans alcohol increases agression, nevermind the nationality). Careful at weekend nights and stay away from football fans (no hair, scarves, singing loud) and army recruits (no hair, triangular painted 'coats', singing loud). Avoid those who spend their time hanging around doorways, parks ect. Move around quickly and proud, sneaking through places only makes you look like a potential victim. If in doubt, run towards people - with witnesses you are less likely to get mugged.

About thefts? Just be reasonable - don't show off with your mobile, don't carry too much cash or documents with you, watch pockets in lose clothing (e.g. jacket) and back trouser pockets. I have lived in Poland for years and haven't been mugged or robbed once.

Play it safe.
11 Jun 2006 #14
Oh com`on. You`re making sound is if safety was an issue here. I don`t know if you`ve been to the UK, but I`ve seen there scenes where a bunch of teenagers had been vandalizing a house and noone reacted becaouse everyone had seen it as "normal". I`ve also seen districts where there are busstops and where bus-drivers out of fear to make a stop are literally driving over people who stand on the street in fron of the bus, to be able to get away as far as possible from those districs. I guess that the same you can say about France, especially Paris.

So if those people are used to such "war-like" conditions in their homecountries that what they are going to experience while traveling in Poland is going to seem to them as if Poland would be an oazis of peace and security.
21 Jul 2006 #15
Well i think that Poland is alot safer than the UK. My polish girl friend has been mugged three times in London and had her flat broken into whilst she was there. She woke up to see a man on top of her friend witha knife to her throat!!!!!!!!!!!

I was away (ironically in prison) at the time and was not around to protect her. I'm serious the UK is much more dangerous than Poland. We have alot more ethnic gangs in London and the UK, who whilst they tend to kill their own, they still occassionally hit civilians. Also I think many people wanted for crimes in Eastern europe have come to the UK to hide.
21 Jul 2006 #16
I say - the more people, the better chance you get mugged. There are millions of people from different cultures in London so no wonder you can get "stressful situations". In Poland many young, rebellious people are working abroad so it's natural it's safer in Poland.
rafik 18 | 589
21 Jul 2006 #17
steven i am too drunk to answer your bull ****.i will gwet back 2morrow.i think you need a very big hug...very big hug ..or ..i don't know

Poland was almost in a state of anarchy.


No wonder, many choose "easy money," a Robin Hood mentality.


This abrupt change - not only in Poland, but also in other new "democracies," Russia being the scariest example - let until now dormant powers


This abrupt change - not only in Poland, but also in other new "democracies,"


is also wise not to carry chains of gold or golden ear-rings, since it is not uncommon that perpetrators will snatch it off your neck or even worse, your ears.

22 Jul 2006 #18 you`re saying that Poland is safer than the UK, cose some of the people who are living here had moved to the UK. Well, thinkinking is not of your strenghts - is it ?
truebrit 3 | 196
22 Jul 2006 #19
It is ridiculous to compare the worst parts of London with the whole of the UK.Yes,some areas of London are terrible but others are relatively safe.Do not confuse London with other parts of the UK-there is a big difference.

In every country including Poland there are areas to avoid/avoid living in and other areas that have no problems.
22 Jul 2006 #20
That`s true - however the statistics show an average level for the whole country.
truebrit 3 | 196
23 Jul 2006 #21
Also,the figures for countries like Bulgaria,Romania and Russia mean absolutely nothing because the police there are so corrupt and inefficient that they do not even record most crimes.
25 Jul 2006 #22
I think they are quite safe. I am from Krakow and I think that it is quite safe in the centre even late at night.If you live far from centre the best is taxi. For me the wrsot in Nowa Huta district- lots hoodies and not very safe at all. They know there each other ( kind of gang culture) and if they see new face can be dangerous.- it is similar to run down council estate in England.
rafik 18 | 589
25 Jul 2006 #23
Also I think many people wanted for crimes in Eastern europe have come to the UK to hide.

i think you are mistaking albanian/kosovan gangs with eastern european ones.the problem is that they are white and speak the language which is similar to polish.a lot of this guys came here after the war in kosovo.they were asked to leave after the war ended but a lot of them stayed on,many of whom are simply gangsters.there is a big problem with this guys especially in london but they could be seen almost everywhere.i know quite a lot of them and have to say they are a bit dodgy.some of them(strangely most of them have regular jobs)steal or are pimps or mugg of them was a car thief in albania and showed me his 6(!) wounds after he was shot(ak-47) by another gang. i haven't heard about any polish gang yet
bolo 2 | 304
25 Jul 2006 #24
have come to the UK to hide

I think it would be easier for a criminal to hide in one of the Central or Eastern European countries than in the UK...:)
27 Jul 2006 #25
You're joking aren't your? it's a prerequisite to have a criminal record or to have committed some war crimes to get in to the UK these days!!!
30 Sep 2006 #26
I've never been robbed, attacked or raped and neither have my friends and I live in Poland. I think it's safe here
plg 17 | 263
9 Oct 2006 #27
are we talking arse bandits or just bandits
FISZ 24 | 2,116
10 Oct 2006 #28
You're joking aren't your? it's a prerequisite to have a criminal record or to have committed some war crimes to get in to the UK these days!!!

Unfortunately many terror cells as well :/
10 Oct 2006 #29
well im from liverpool i know about violent gangs and thiefs its like everywere some places good some bad but if your street smart and know were not to go you should be safe were ever you go in the world.
22 Nov 2006 #30
i was in katwice in july i got jumped by 4 local thugs as i was walking to my hotel,foolishly (had a few piwos) i started to fight back (i am 6 foot plus and 17 stone) i think the combined weight of these 4 guys was 20 stone i managed to break free as they were trying to bring me down to the floor i whacked a couple of them and then ran like ****

i managed to hide 4 20 mins in a courtyard(you guys dont do alleyways in poland,my prefered hiding method) but unfortunately ran into 2 of the thugs and unfortunately this time one of them managed to get hold of a 5 foot piece if metal chain and started going for it like ****en bruce lee the little twat ,i think i weighed up do i fight them both or try doing a runner again,common sense prevailed and i ran i asked a couple of guys whilst running if they could call the policja and they must have thought (quite rightly ) im not getting involved in this but must have been my lucky night becuse as i turned a corner running on the road near katowice centrum..a local polija meat wagon came(after nearly mowing me down,well i was in the road:) ) and stopped us all put us all in the van and questioned me,thankfully a youngish officer spoke very good english and asked me what happened ,one of the 2 little retards said to another officer that i had sexually assulted his girlfriend,which was utter ********** and his cronies just jumped me by the train station) thankfully the officer who spoke english asked him,(i think) what was her name and where did she live and where was she now,obviously he couldnt awnser because he was lying so then the officer said where was your shoe(i was missing one shoe) i said i think i lost it by the station so they took me in the van ,found my shoe asked what hotel i was staying in then took me there in the van the officer who was a decent guy said was i ok and did i want to go to hospital(i had some lacerations a bruise on the side of my head,where one of them thumped me and a few cuts and bruises) i said no thanks so they bid me a good night and left with the 2 criminals in their van,hopefully to take them somewhere quiet and give them a good kicking...i just couldnt understand the level of violence they meted out to me ,if the just showed me a blade and said,give me your money i would of but i feel they wanted to kick the **** out of me and maybe knock me out,then take my money.

so after a long story my conclusion of poland is that it is gennerally safe ,because i have been to krakow,zakopane,poznan,wroclaw etc with no problems,but katowice was pretty bad,even in the daytime but my experience with the police was very positive..

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