Vienna is surprisingly safe for a city approaching 2 million inhabitants.
This perhaps reflects the country at large: the 2023 Global Peace Index, for example, ranked Austria as the fifth most peaceful country in the world, just behind New Zealand and ahead of such countries as Japan and Switzerland.
- See also:
High rankings, low crime
Obviously every city has its exceptions. Regarding any security issues, for example, consult your embassy or consulate for specific advice.
But on a day-to-day basis, Vienna enjoys a strong reputation when it comes to crime and safety. Here some stats:
Numbers then fell by 12.2% in 2020 and a further 5.4% in 2021 to another long-term low. However, neither year can be considered representative since we had significant periods in lockdown, for example, and far fewer visitors.
Reported crime then returned to “normal” in 2022, rising 16.7% compared to 2021. But…this still put it below 2019 levels and represented a drop of over 20% when compared to around ten years ago.
I’ve lived here almost 30 years and the only time I felt personally threatened was when a rather dishevelled-looking man approached me on an empty tram and pulled what I thought was a knife from his jacket.
It wasn’t a knife…it was his ID and he was an undercover ticket inspector (for the record, I had a ticket).
More evidence for Vienna’s safety comes indirectly from its regular high rankings in global quality of life surveys. For example…
- The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vienna first in the 2023 Global Liveability index. The city came top in the 2022, 2019 and 2018 reports, too. Regarding the latter, the survey’s editor was quoted as saying, “It’s proven to be one of the safest cities in Europe.”
(Vienna had dropped to 12th in the EIU’s 2021 ranking thanks to the COVID situation in Europe!)
- Monocle magazine ranked Vienna first in its 2023 Quality of Life Survey.
- Vienna topped the last Quality of Living rankings (from 2019) produced by Mercer for the tenth time in a row.
That same Mercer report included a separate ranking for personal safety, where Vienna placed sixth in the world, one spot below Zurich.
..but still some crime
Despite all that good news, you should still take the same care you would when travelling to any large European city, particularly as regards parks, waterways and around transport facilities late at night.
Crime in Vienna is generally low, but there is still crime. Pickpockets, for example, may be about in busy areas (particularly during the Christmas markets) and on packed trams and trains.
As mentioned earlier, do consult your embassy or consulate for specific advice, especially in the context of any potential security incidents. For example, see the security and safety advice for Austria provided by the US State Department, Australian Government and the UK Government.