European – Personal Travel Security Advisory System 2016

After traveling and living throughout Europe for nearly a year, we’ve seen a majority of the cities that we’ve set out to see. Following our visits, our perception of many cities has changed dramatically. For example, prior to departing on our RTW trip, who would have thought Vienna would rank as our #1 most dangerous city in Europe?

Never in a million years would we have linked Vienna with personal safety concerns. However, learning first hand that military surplus stores that use to sell 200 units of pepper spray a year, now are selling 200 units of pepper spray a day, it quickly changed our perspective. Additionally, during the few days we were in Vienna the Chief of Police was quoted telling women, Women should in general not go out on the streets at night alone. This does not sound like the Vienna, nor the Europe, we envisioned visiting.

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Our risk matrix and safety recommendations based on 32 major cities visited in Europe.

The world seems to be getting exponentially more dangerous. Based on recent events and upcoming summer holiday planning, we wanted to share our opinion on what you may expect when visiting Europe. We decided to rank each major city that we visited from the most dangerous to the least dangerous. We also added a personal risk rating. Of course, your opinion may vary, but remember this is based on our own personal comfort levels and experiences. No matter WHAT always follow your GUT.

If safety is your number one priority, we highly recommend visiting any of the cities with a risk level of 1 (green).

 

0 thoughts on “European – Personal Travel Security Advisory System 2016”

  1. @ Vienna, Austria – the most liveable city in the world?

    Fears among countries in western Europe about ‘homegrown’ terrorist attacks, such as the one in Brussels, have long been brewing. In Austria, some experts responded to the events this week by calling for further integration efforts in the country to prevent radicalisation and terrorism and to avoid further nationalism and racism by the locals.

    In neighbouring Germany, more than 100 women have come forward to say they were assaulted over New Year 2016 by groups of men.

    In the wake of the German scandal, Vienna’s police chief was asked about the incidents and about the risks that women face: “Women should in general not go out on the streets at night alone, they should avoid suspicious looking areas and also when in pubs and clubs should only accept drinks from people they know.” he told newspapers.

    He has caused outrage by advising women in this way. Interior Ministry Johanna Mikl-Leitner waded into the debate saying: “We women will not allow ourselves to see our freedom to go where we want, when we want, reduced by even a millimetre [or by a head of police].”

    Despite Austrian police tackles every sex assault case with zero tolerance, the police was getting under fire after admitting only revealing the incidents of sex attacks in the city of Salzburg when the full extent of the German problem had become known.

    A police spokeswoman has said it was nothing to do with a conspiracy of silence, and that they had acted out of respect for the victims. So far police said there had been ten cases in the city of Salzburg in which women had come forward to complain.

    Year by year, on December 31, Vienna’s city center transforms into a giant party zone and a very attractive and popular hot spot for tourists.

    Btw, at this very moment Vienna is enjoying spring. When will you?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CeS5fK5XEAAAFnk.jpg

  2. Hello Massimo,

    Thanks for stopping by and your article. May we ask, are you currently in Vienna? What do you think of the current vibe there?

    Your article shares a very interesting trend that I am observing these days….women get highly offended when others (e.g., police, other travelers, family members, men) tell them that they shouldn’t venture somewhere due to safety concerns. As a woman, I think this is absurd! It’s just a fact that women are easier targets than men.

    I didn’t feel safe venturing alone outside the tourist areas in Vienna. If the police chief is recommending women to not go out alone, I’m going to listen! Not sure why women have this “I’ve got something to prove ego?”

    Thanks for sharing this interesting information.

    Great photo by the way!

    1. Hello Audrey,

      despite recent security issues, European cities continue to offer some of the worlds’ highest quality-of-living places with Vienna in the lead. West European cities also dominate the top of the personal safety ranking, Vienna ranks 5th.

      Safety, in particular, is a key factor for multinationals to consider when sending expatriate workers abroad. In 2015 Vienna continues its reign in the top spot for overall quality of living worldwide.

      I’m married (with 3 kids) and have been living in Vienna’s 13th district since a couple of years. (As a German citizen,) I couldn’t find a better and securer place to live with my familiy and enjoy my life.

      Our home is close to the Schönbrunn gardens, a recreational area. So, with a brisk stroll around the large grounds of Schönbrunn Palace I try to start in a day off.

      Audrey, I’m so sorry, you’ve got bad vibes venturing alone outside the tourist areas in Vienna. Despite it’s regarded to be (one of) the safest metropolitan area(s) around the globe, as a frequent visitor, you might have always in two minds about it. Vienna seemed to be overrun with middle-aged American riverboat cruisers though, it should be more concerned with them.

      People in the service industry are indeed very polite and often friendly too. But you could see the snooty side too. Viennese like it to play up their “charm” to visiting tourists but are notoriously rude and unfriendly to fellow locals, residents and German-speakers in general.

      Audrey, at next time try to move around the city, outside the inner part – you will find many interesting sights, markets, restaurants, clubs and last but not least “Heurigen”. You will not be disappointed once you leave the first district, by walking or riding the bike, seagway, bus, tram, metro (U-Bahn) or suburban railway (S-Bahn) or train.

      Vienna has an excellent public-transportation system with reliable, clean and convenient service. Moreover, taking public transportation into and within the city is a lot less stressful than dealing with Vienna’s heavy traffic. On Weekdays after 0:30 am the Wiener Linien offer a Nightline bus service, which covers the most important routes. On Weekends and (before) holidays the underground lines continue their services through the whole night in 15-minute intervals.

      Dealing with Scary Places – Safety First.

      Enquiries of Vienna’s criminal investigation services have shown that the scenes of about one third of all violent sexual offences committed against women by unidentified perpetrators are in entranceways or stairwells.

      Basically, it can be said that the majority of violent sexual offences is not committed by unidentified offenders but acquaintances, relatives and life-partners/spouses, and that flats are the most common crime scenes in Vienna.

      https://www.wien.gv.at/menschen/frauen/pdf/safety-security.pdf

      Btw, Vienna’s Chief of Police statement immediately attracted criticism from women’s affairs spokesmen and spokeswomen:

      “Is the Vienna police chief saying that he is no longer in a position to protect women from sex attacks? If so, then he has failed in his job.”

      “Should women now only go out with bodyguards if they want to avoid being told it was their fault when they get into difficulties?”

      “The first reaction to incidents like this [sex attacks] should not be to tell women to be more careful. The proper reaction is for us all to work together to fight problems like this.”

      Conclusion:
      My Personal Travel Advisory Security System settles Vienna with its 1.8 million inhabitents (2.6 million within the metropolitan area) between level 1 (extremly low, no caution at any time of day) and 2 (low, caution at night only and based on situation). IMHO it fits well, in comparison with Bratislava, Praha and Budapest.

      Mercer produces worldwide quality-of-living rankings annually. Vienna ranks highest in overall quality of living. Praha is the highest ranking city in Central and Eastern Europe, followed by Ljubljana (76) and Budapest (77). Vienna (1) continues to lead the ranking and has done so in the last seven published rankings.

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/23/vienna-named-worlds-top-city-for-quality-of-life

      @ Great photo by the way
      The ceiling of the historical Grand Hall (Prunksaal) of the Court Library
      https://tools.wmflabs.org/geohack/geohack.php?pagename=Tourist_attractions_in_Vienna&params=48_12_22_N_16_22_0_E_

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