Crime in Bucharest
Crime in Bucharest is quite low in comparison to other European capital cities, with the number of total offences declining by 51% between 2000 and 2004, and by 7% between 2012 and 2013. Violent and organised crime is low (accounting for only 16% of total crimes committed), with petty crime and institutional corruption being more widespread.
Violent and organised crime
The violent crime rate in Bucharest remains very low in comparison with other EU capitals. In 2007, 11 murders and 983 other violent offenses took place. In 2013, violent crimes fell by 13% from 2012, however there was a slight increase in murders compared to 2007 with 19 recorded murders (with suspects being arrested for 18 of them). Yet, considering the city's population of approximately 2 million, the number of violent crimes are considered low without a notable impact on public life.
Petty crime, however, is more common, particularly in the form of pickpocketing, which occurs mainly on the city's public transport network. Additionally, confidence tricks such as the Maradona scam are sometimes common, especially in regard to tourists. Levels of crime are higher in the southern districts of the city, particularly in Ferentari, a socially-disadvantaged area.
Theft was reduced by 13.6% in 2013 compared to 2012.
Begging and homelessness
History of begging
In the 18th and 19th centuries, beggars were camped in Bucharest near a place called Podul Calicilor (Bridge of the Poor), and after that behind the Metropolitan Cathedral and Mircea Vodă Church. The beggars were organised as a guild. The head of the guild was called staroste. The names of the beggars' chiefs were well known: Atinia Surda, Simion Ciungul, Grigore Fulgeratul, Radu Orbul, Lisandru Ologul, Nichita Guşatul, Tudor "Gură Stricată," Gavrilă "Gură Putinea," Grigore "ce are ceea nevoie."
The archbishops of Ungro-Vlahia subordinated the beggars' guild to the Romanian Orthodox Church. In order for someone to practice begging, some rules needed to be followed:
- Never reach out the hand twice, since this was considered theft.
- After receiving a donation, the beggar was to leave the church and let others continue to beg.
- Self-infliction of wounds was forbidden, because this was considered a fraud.
- Any beggar taking part in a clash would be erased from the lists of approved beggars, thereby losing the financial aid from the Church.
- There were rules regarding beggars' heritage.
- There were also rules regarding theft within the branch. If someone was caught, then he was to be beaten in front of the beggars community and then exiled.
Although the presence of street children was a problem in Bucharest in the 1990s, their numbers have declined significantly in recent years, currently lying at or below the average of major European capital cities. However, there are still an estimated 1,000 (2006 est.) street children in the city, many of which engage in petty crime and begging. In 2007, most of these children were brought to orphanages. There has also been speculation that the street children are recruited by professional underground networks for criminal purposes.
Institutional and financial crimes
A significant problem in the city remains institutional corruption, which is seen as the most important justice-and-law related problem in the city. While corruption in Romania has declined in recent years due to various government efforts, Bucharest's level of institutional corruption remains somewhat higher than the Romanian average.
- Bucharest Crime Statistics 2000-2004, Bucharest Directorate-General of Police (please see the archived version)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- Ionescu Gion, G. I. (1899). Istoria Bucurescilor.
- The same is true for beggars and homeless people, many of them from the disadvantaged Romani minority
- Worldwide Street Children statistics Archived December 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Hilton Foundation/Council of Europe