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European Union

Poland, one of the safest European countries to live in

Polish police car (Source: iStock – jaceksphotos)

A comparison of the levels of crime, homicide, and rape in Poland and Western European countries


Daniel Foubert

The discourse surrounding crime rates within European countries has intensified in recent years, with a focus on the effectiveness of law enforcement, integration policies, and the socio-economic integration of immigrants. Poland’s approach to crime has notably resulted in statistics that present a stark contrast to the trends observed in some Western European countries. Eurostat data ranging from 2012 to 2021 allows for a comparison between Poland and Western European countries in terms of crime, homicide, rape, and theft. This article will delve into these statistics.

With a homicide rate showing a slight decrease over the course of the decade under examination, Poland’s law enforcement strategies and societal factors could offer insights into effective crime prevention methods. Conversely, Western European countries have experienced a general increase in police-recorded sexual violence, raising questions about the social dynamics and efficacy of the preventive measures that are in place.

To truly address these complex issues, European countries must look beyond the numbers and consider the root causes of criminal behavior. To achieve a more just and secure society, effective reforms need to be enacted. Practical action is needed more than theoretical debates about the rule of law that, in the eyes of an increasing number of law-abiding citizens, only seem to increase insecurity, rape, and crime, fostering the fall of European civilization.

Homicide in Poland and Western Europe at comparable levels

In Poland, Eurostat data from 2012 through 2021 suggests a level of safety often perceived as being higher than that of many Western European countries. The data indicates that there has been a slight decrease in the homicide rate in Poland over this decade, with the lowest rate recorded in 2019 at 0.54 per 100,000 inhabitants, contrasting with its highest rate as recorded in 2012, at 0.99.

The Western European region, comprising countries such as Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland, exhibits a similar pattern. The average homicide rates in these countries ranged from 0.82 in 2013 to 0.78 in 2021.

In certain years, Poland’s rates were notably lower than the Western European average: 0.74 compared to 1.14 in 2014, 0.73 compared to 1.10 in 2017, and 0.54 compared to 1.09 in 2018. Conversely, in other years Poland’s rates were slightly higher or nearly equal.

Poland’s homicide rate is thus very much in line with the Western European average. It has to be said, however, that whichever the country, intentional homicide is among the least frequently committed crimes, and it is in other types of crimes that a growing gap can be seen between most Western European countries and Poland.


Sexual violence rates: Better to be a woman in Poland than in Western Europe

The statistics on sexual violence in Western Europe stand out as particularly distressing.

Poland’s experience with sexual violence over the past ten years shows a relatively stable pattern, with only minor fluctuations. There was a slight uptick in incidents starting from 2013, peaking in 2019 at 9.38 per 100,000 inhabitants before a subsequent decrease to 8.49 in 2021. These figures, while concerning, do not reflect an upward trend, and suggest a certain level of containment when compared to Western European standards.

On the other hand, the average rates in Western European countries have shown a more worrying pattern, fluctuating from 42.49 in 2014 to an increased rate of 53.07 in 2021. These numbers not only exceed those recorded in Poland, but also demonstrate a general escalation over the years.

As for rapes, which are the most serious cases of sexual violence, in France the number of rapes per 100,000 inhabitants increased steadily from 16.68 in 2012 to 28.58 in 2018 and 50.13 in 2021. There are also significant disparities between Western European countries, with a 2021 rape rate at around 4.52 in Spain, 12.52 in Germany, 35.07 in Belgium, 13.39 in the Netherlands, and 8.73 in Switzerland. The contrast with Poland is striking, since the incidence of rape has shown a downward trajectory there, with the lowest rates having been recently recorded at 1.50 and 1.54 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. This also contrasts with the beginning of the surveyed period in Poland, which saw a rate of 3.76 in 2012 and 2.07 in 2013. The decrease over the decade is indicative of a society moving in the right direction concerning this particular crime.

The disparity between the rates in Poland and some Western European countries is so pronounced that it cannot simply be attributed to differences in reporting practices. The truth is that data from the Dutch police indicates a considerable overrepresentation of individuals from non-Western immigration backgrounds in sexual offenses, accounting for 36% of the accused in 2022 alone. The French Home Affairs Ministry’s data reveals a similar pattern: in the Ile-de-France (greater Paris) region’s public transportation system, which is used by eight million passengers daily, foreign nationals accounted for 62% of the perpetrators of sexual violence. According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, in the 2018–2021 period 41% of rapes were committed by foreigners, while they make up only 8% of the population.

The contrast in sexual violence and rape statistics between Poland and Western Europe is undeniable. The increasing trend in Western Europe calls for a critical reevaluation of current approaches and the implementation of radically different societal policies.

“Islamic rape on Europe” – The cover of the Polish weekly Sieci shortly after the mass sexual assaults on European women by mostly Middle-Eastern and North African migrants in Cologne during New Year’s Eve festivities.
Theft Offenses in Poland and Western Europe

The past ten years have seen a commendable decline in theft in Poland. From a rate of 606.22 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, there has been a consistent decrease to 557.35 in 2013, which further dips to 443.39 in 2014. The trend continued downward to 382.08 in 2015 and 332.90 in 2016, reaching 281.58 in 2017 and stabilizing at this level in the following years.

In contrast with the situation in Poland, Western European countries on the whole have experienced significantly higher rates of police-recorded theft, albeit with a general declining trend mirroring that of Poland. The average rates in Western Europe fell from 1827.16 in 2013  to 1197.84 in 2020, and a slight increase to 1309.43 was then recorded in 2021. While these figures suggest a positive overall trend, these rates remain a lot higher than those reported in Poland. The figures are particularly high in France (1786.35), Belgium (1428.7), and Switzerland (1356.19), while they are relatively low in Spain (262.25) and Portugal (621.02).

Here, too, we see a very clear pattern of non-European criminality. In the Netherlands, for instance, 60% of individuals charged with violent thefts are of non-Western origin, according to the Dutch police. Likewise, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, during the 2018-2021 period 49% of burglaries were committed by foreigners, while they make up only 8% of the population.


Crime Rates Among Immigrant Populations in France, the Netherlands, and Italy

Europe’s struggle with the integration of non-Western immigrants into its social fabric has been underscored by recent crime statistics released by the Dutch, French, and Italian authorities. These figures, which span various years and categorize offenses by origin and nationality, reveal an overrepresentation of non-Western immigrants in criminal activities.

The demographic disproportionality in crime is particularly stark in the Netherlands. Non-Western immigrants, which make up 14% of the population, are disproportionately represented in crime. They account for 35% of sexual offenses, 40% of assaults, 40% of drug-related incidents, and a staggering 60% of violent thefts. Particularly concerning is the involvement of individuals from African backgrounds, whose rate of criminal involvement is four to five times higher than among native Dutch citizens. Moroccan youths show a troubling pattern, with data indicating that around 70% of Moroccan males in their thirties have been implicated in crime at least once. These figures are not isolated but are part of a consistent overrepresentation, with repeat offender rates that are nearly double that of native Dutch individuals.

The situation in France paints a similar picture. Foreign nationals, even though they are only 8% of the population, account for 24.5% of all prison inmates. This disparity becomes even more pronounced when broken down by offense and nationality. For instance, non-nationals of African origin have a rate of being charged with crimes that is up to ten times higher than that of French nationals. The Ile-de-France region, a hub of public transportation used by millions daily, sees foreign nationals comprising 43% of assaults, 62% of sexual violence cases, and 92% of non-violent thefts. Foreigners are overrepresented in domestic violence cases as well, including femicides and spousal abuse, with rates about three times higher than that of French nationals.

According to the Italian authorities, foreigners make up only 8% of the population, yet North Africans are proportionally ten times more involved in crimes and offenses than Italians. The disparity grows when analyzing violent crimes, with North Africans being implicated in assaults at 11 times the rate of Italians and in homicides at a rate nine times higher.

European countries still reluctant to apply the real solutions to the migrant crisis



While Poland’s homicide rate aligns closely with Western European averages and shows a slight decrease over the course of the decade, it is the trends in sexual violence and theft that highlight very significant differences. Poland’s stable pattern in sexual violence rates and consistent decline in theft contrasts starkly with the alarming increase in sexual violence and much higher theft rates in Western Europe. This divergence, coupled with the overrepresentation of non-Western immigrants in criminal activities in several Western European countries, suggests that Poland’s approach to law enforcement as well as societal factors might offer valuable insights into effective crime reduction methods, while the challenges faced by Western European countries call first and foremost for a reevaluation of their immigration policies.

The Western European debate about the rule of law in Poland, which is often focused on judicial reforms and political influence, seems somewhat detached from the country’s crime statistics and issues of public safety. While concerns about the rule of law generally pertain to the independence of the judiciary, democratic principles, and human rights, the data on crime rates, including homicides, sexual violence, and theft, speaks more to the effectiveness of law enforcement and social policy. Poland’s lower crime rates, especially in comparison with some Western European countries, not only suggest that rule-of-law concerns have not impacted Poland’s ability to maintain a relatively safe environment for its citizens, but also seem completely outlandish given Poland’s achievements – and Western Europe’s poor record.

After all, what kind of rule of law can we speak of when, in the face of a massive influx of non-European immigrants, Western European countries seem increasingly incapable of protecting their citizens’ fundamental right to bodily integrity and property?