Lisbon: One of Europe’s safest cities

Lisbon trams While a more tabloid-style news media is implemented in Portugal, there has been a recent tendency to dramatize every sensationalist story and crime that occurs in the country. For that reason, there seems to be a general feeling among the Portuguese that their country is no longer the crime-free heaven that it used to be, especially in its two largest cities. However, a report from Eurostat (the European Union statistics agency) released last week showed that the Portuguese capital has the second-lowest murder rate in Europe.

The only capital with a better rate is Valetta, the capital of Malta. Also, the murders in Portugal tend to always result from either domestic disputes, crimes of passion, drug-related or so-called “revenge-killings.” And violent crime in general has been down in Portugal in the past two years.

So what does that mean to you, the visitor? It means that you should not worry about becoming a victim of random crime during your Lisbon stay, and should simply be as alert as you’d be anywhere else. It means that you’re more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in London, Paris, Madrid, or pretty much anywhere else. And while certain parts of Lisbon may give you a false sense of insecurity (in deserted streets at night, with rundown buildings, beggars or seedier characters walking around), you can relax because chances are, nothing will happen to you.

Having said that, you should definitely be extra alert during your rides on tram 28 and 15. They’re notorious for pickpocketing, where someone distracts you while another takes your wallet. Use a money belt, keep your hand in your wallet’s pocket if standing, and look alert and aware of your surroundings –- if you look them in the eye, they most likely won’t target you.

So in addition to the rich cultural heritage, mild climate, and moderate prices, you can certainly add safety as yet another of Lisbon’s inviting attractions.