Crime in Poland

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Crime in Poland is lower than in many countries of Europe.[1] Surveys conducted in 2005 placed Poland below the European average, with crime victimisation rates lower than in Ireland, England and Wales, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden and Norway.[2]

Newer studies (2009) report that the crime victimisation rate in Poland is constantly decreasing, and in 2008 Poland was at a low end of 25 among the 36 European countries listed.[3][4] A 2004 report on security concerns of European Union residents indicated that the Polish public (along with that of Greece) is the most afraid of crime, a finding which does not correlate with the actual crime threat.[5]

Crime dynamics[edit]

Polish cities most affected by crime.[6]
# City Number of crimes per
100,000 inhabitants
1. Katowice 7063,7
2. Chorzów 6733,3
3. Legnica 6361,5
4. Kalisz 6228,2
5. Gdańsk 6133,7
6. Poznań 6109,2
7. Wrocław 5983,4
8. Kraków 5974,2
9. Kielce 5926,6
10. Gliwice 5733,5
11. Opole 5649,8
12. Włocławek 5626,9
13. Warszawa 5353,2
14. Bytom 5332,5
15. Elbląg 5328,1
16. Zielona Góra 5193,2
17. Tarnów 5187,3
18. Gorzów Wielkopolski 5156,6
19. Szczecin 5120,9
20. Toruń 5120,2
21. Łódź 5116,4
22. Sosnowiec 5051,7
23. Bielsko-Biała 4969,1
24. Lublin 4968,7
25. Zabrze 4808,8
26. Wałbrzych 4710,2
27. Dąbrowa Górnicza 4690,8
28. Radom 4670,1
29. Bydgoszcz 4515,1
30. Rybnik 4500,7
31. Gdynia 4328,1
32. Olsztyn 4317
33. Koszalin 4004,7
34. Ruda Śląska 3945,3
35. Rzeszów 3890,9
36. Tychy 3842,7
37. Częstochowa 3786,5
38. Płock 3262,5
39. Białystok 2977

The crime rate is the highest in Upper Silesia district, where both earnings and unemployment are also the highest in Poland.

Crime by type[edit]

While local organized crime in Poland existed during the interwar period, it has mostly developed during the time of fall of communism (late 1980s/1990s) with the introduction of capitalist system in Poland and the lessening of the police (milicja) power.

Organized crime[edit]

The most well known of the Polish organized crime groups in the 1990s were the so-called Pruszkow and the Wolomin gangs.[7]

The first war against organized crime was won by Poland in the 90’s. This war was aimed at large gangs. The state triumphed and so we no longer have the gangs of Wolomin and Pruszkow,” said Mr Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz at the press conference at the MI.

Head of the MI added that at the moment there were about 200 criminal groups operating across Poland which were under constant police monitoring. “For none of them the situation is likely to return to the one observed in the 90’s” said Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz.

Polish organized crime majorly emerged in the 1990s, when the traditional criminal underworld became better organized not only partly in thanks to the at that time rising corruption.[8] Organized crime groups were well known (1992) for operating sophisticated car theft-rings,[9] as well as for their involvement in drug trafficking (the main drug being amphetamine) and weapon trafficking.

The Pruszków mafia was the name given to the organized criminal group that emerged from the suburb of Pruszków in the beginning of the 1990s. The group is known for being involved in large car-theft rings, drug trafficking (including cocaine, heroin, hashish and amphetamine), kidnapping, extortion, weapon trafficking (including AK-47's) and murder. Even though law enforcement dealt a severe blow to the Pruszków mafia, it is alleged that Pruszków-based gangs, with or without notice from their former leaders, have regained their strength in recent years and have began setting up their car-theft rings and connections with Colombian drug cartels again.[10] Andrzej Kolikowski, who was killed in 1999, was the most well-known member of the Pruszków mafia.

Similar organized crime group from Wołomin, known as the Wołomin mafia from a town near Warsaw, with whom they fought bloody turf wars,[11] was crushed by the Polish police in cooperation with the German police in a spectacular raid on a highway between Konin and Poznan in September 2011.[12]


Main article: Corruption in Poland

Poland ranked 38th in the 175 country listing the Corruption Perception Index for 2013.[13] It is the eighth successive year in which Poland's score and ranking has improved in the Index.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]