Crime in Belfast, United Kingdom

Crime rates in Belfast, United Kingdom

Level of crime
50.85 Moderate
Crime increasing in the past 5 years
52.67 Moderate
Worries home broken and things stolen
40.91 Moderate
Worries being mugged or robbed
36.00 Low
Worries car stolen
40.29 Moderate
Worries things from car stolen
43.69 Moderate
Worries attacked
46.52 Moderate
Worries being insulted
51.57 Moderate
Worries being subject to a physical attack because of your skin color, ethnic origin, gender or religion
47.68 Moderate
Problem people using or dealing drugs
61.54 High
Problem property crimes such as vandalism and theft
54.69 Moderate
Problem violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery
44.02 Moderate
Problem corruption and bribery
36.09 Low

Safety in Belfast, United Kingdom

Safety walking alone during daylight
72.54 High
Safety walking alone during night
42.57 Moderate

Contributors: 152

Last update: July 2024

These data are based on perceptions of visitors of this website in the past 5 years.

If the value is 0, it means it is perceived as very low, and if the value is 100, it means it is perceived as very high.

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12 Comments so far
Anonymous on Nov 02, 2023:
Crime in Belfast is more random than in European or US cities. You may occasionally encounter pickpockets or muggers, but the biggest risk is from mindless street harassment and/or violence, usually perpetrated by young men and teenagers in groups, who are either drunk, high, trying to impress their friends, or all of these at the same time. They are often present on public transportation and particularly the Glider as they can more easily avoid paying.

The area around city centre train stations (Great Victoria Street, Lanyon Place, Botanic and City Hospital) are OK during the day but should ideally be avoided at night.

Avoid walking too far after dark in the city centre or in suburbs. An OK area and a bad area are often a single street apart. It's difficult if not impossible for those who haven't lived here to identify the difference, or boundary lines.

Loud, aggressive behaviour on the streets, particularly near anywhere that serves alcohol, is common. You will usually be fine if you keep to yourself, but innocent passers by have been assaulted.

Belfast has moved on a lot in terms of accepting other cultures and minorities, however it is still behind most of Europe, so racist/xenophobic/homophobic abuse cannot be ruled out.

While many of us have moved on from the division of the past, some remain stuck in it.
Avoid the week either side of 12th July and don't hang around any band marches too long.
Avoid wearing political clothing, such as the Celtic or Rangers Football (Soccer) shirts, or anything that is in the colours of the British or Irish flags. Most people won't care, but it only takes one person who does to have your trip ruined.
Anonymous on May 02, 2022:
This articles provides a gruesome example on the random nature of street attacks in Belfast:
Anonymous on Mar 11, 2022:
Belfast has a problem with street gangs and drug use (sometimes these are the same thing). It is not yet as bad as Dublin or some British cities, but it is getting there. Forget the nonsense you read on wikitravel about safest city in the world...

Belfast can feel safe one minute, then rapidly deteriorate. If you are in the city centre, avoid fast food outlets facing City Hall - these attract a bad crowd to the point where one very famous fast food place has to employ bouncers at night, which still blows my mind. Fights are common, as are drug users and generally anti-social types who will verbally abuse you for looking in their direction.

During the day, it is OK, but the above rule applies (can feel safe, but quickly go bad).
The area between the city centre and Queens University is not as safe as it used to be (not that it ever was particularly). Inner city areas in the east, west and north can be sketchy even during the day - especially if you look foreign.

Try to avoid isolated areas, which is most places after dark in the centre. Most workers live outside the centre and the only people left are drinkers, drug users or anti-social elements, or all of the above.

Public transport is ok, but again not so good after dark, particularly on weekend nights. Many people like getting drunk and this can lead to harassment, abuse and fights. The Glider is ok during the day, but again can see a lot of anti-social behaviour, particularly in the west. Just google 'Glider Belfast Anti-Social Behaviour' and you will see that police have had to step up their patrols on the Glider due to these problems.

If you arrive at Great Victoria Street Station, be aware that outside is not a great area generally, but especially not after dark. Same with Lanyon Place, which is on a bridge between the inner city and the centre, meaning a lot of footfall of difficult types.

Basically, a lot of Belfast folk are good people but as with everything else it can be spoiled by the (growing) minority who have no purpose in life other than to make others lives hell.
gus on Jan 09, 2022:
one of tbe safest cities ive lived in. just dont be catholic on the 12th
Anonymous on Dec 28, 2021:
Like anywhere, it can improve and more should be done re antisocial behaviour from the professionally unemployed youth of particular pockets on the city. However, as the comparisons with the likes of Dublin, London or the average US city on this site show, it is generally safe by Anglosphere standards.
Anonymous on Aug 27, 2021:
A lot of people under 25 border on feral. You cross their path and it's luck of the draw.
Anonymous on Aug 09, 2021:
I agree with the comment below. The biggest problems are anti-social behaviour, random harassment and drugs/alcohol. It can be intimidating whether you are male or female. If you don't have a faded haircut or wear a tracksuit, you're fair game. You'll notice how indie types or goths never cause problems.

If you are a visitor you will probably be OK if you avoid addicts, gangs and roving youths (often there is some overlap).

One other thing, it definitely isn't as friendly as it used to be. I remember thinking this was one of the friendliest cities in the world. Now 9/10 encounters are blunt and rude.
Anonymous on Jul 30, 2021:
Belfast is a city with so much potential, but anti-social behaviour is rife. As a resident of Belfast for many years, I can attest to the comments of others on this page.

* Many people here are addicted to alcohol and drugs. The behaviour of these people can really negatively impact the daily lives of people, especially business owners. I once saw someone injecting themselves in the alleyway behind my property. Even decent people who are otherwise harmless during the day can become nocturnal burdens after excessive drinking
* Home & vehicle robbery is common and widely heard about. I've witnessed my current property being scoped out by someone looking to gain unauthorised entry, and a previous property was entered while I was on holiday (though strangely they didn't take anything).
* Many are involved in criminal gangs (you may see them referred to as "paramilitary organisations"). They exhibit control over businesses, builders & contractors, housing developments and, yes, politicians.
* Rates of vandalism such as graffiti and damage to public & private property are shockingly high. You'll hardly go a day in Belfast without seeing a smashed bus stop, a damaged window, a shop or apartment block with spray-painted scrawls on it, and so on. Public amenities are the main targets, such as toilets, public hire bikes, public transport etc. The culprits are mostly older children (yes, children), teens and drunken 20-somethings. Youths can get involved in such behaviour from an early age, like 9 or 10.
* Litter is everywhere. Especially chewing gum, cigarette butts and food packaging. After a busy day with good weather, parks, green spaces and beaches will be strewn with fresh litter. Also you really have to watch where you stop because of dog poo being common on the less busy footpaths in certain areas.
* Mugging does happen but not to the extent of many other European cities. Rates of pickpocketing seem to be relatively low.
* If your looks are different to the typical person here, you are more likely to be the target of random insults and attacks.
* I don't think I would venture out alone at night if I were a girl.
* Anti-social behaviour also occurs on public transport. Staff are mostly indifferent.
* If you enjoy cycling, stay off the roads in Belfast and Northern Ireland in general. Our standards of driving are very high, but for some drivers here, a cyclist on the road is a menace and nuisance and they have been victims of reckless driving and, sadly, fatal accidents do happen. Stick to the cycle paths for your own safety when you can.
* Rioting is much less common than in previous times thankfully, but from time to time it does happen. Fortunately, looting is unheard of here.
Anonymous on May 11, 2021:
Has really declined during covid. So many crazy people out and about. Increasing drug problems.
Anonymous on Mar 25, 2021:
In just the last 3 months i've been:
- Harassed and verbally abused by a group of young men for wearing a mask.
- Yelled at threateningly from afar.
- Verbally abused for keeping my distance (the mind boggles).
- Verbally abused and threatened by groups of teenagers on bikes.
- Seen countless examples of drug use.

There's nothing strange about the way I look or carry myself. This is just Belfast.
Carl on Dec 12, 2020:
Too many gangs of young men roaming and intimidating people.
Stephen on Nov 08, 2020:
There's been an attempt to paint Belfast as rejuvenated and "one of the safest cities in Europe" in recent years. It really doesn't feel like the reality. Yes, mugging and pickpocketing are not massive problems (though they do happen), however unprovoked street abuse and anti-social behaviour IS a problem.

In the UK and Ireland it is very common for groups of guys to walk around together and abuse random passers by (alcohol and drugs are usually involved, but not always).

Oftentimes it's verbal and you can ignore it, but it can turn nasty, and get physical. All about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it happens way too often to ignore the risk.

Belfast (and Northern Ireland) isn't the very tolerant. It's still very insular. If you belong in a minority group, harassment is a strong possibility. Too many people get a perverted kind of happiness from bothering strangers. Usually it is because they might look or act differently.

As another commenter said, daytime is generally "OK", but don't venture far from populated areas at night. I've travelled extensively and while Belfast is nothing like Rio or Johannesburg levels, at least in those places you know why people might attack you and you can take precautions against it (i.e. to steal things). Here, people just attack you for no reason and that makes it more unpredictable.

The sad fact is that there is a certain mentality among many people in Belfast - it is very backward and almost tribal. The people who were involved in the troubles 20-30 years ago haven't gone away. They're just into different things now. Oh, and they've had kids, who are unsurprisingly of the same ilk.

In conclusion, Belfast is no Tokyo or Singapore, nor will it ever be. There are even cities in Eastern Europe that are way safer. It's got a lot of bigots and a violent underclass who think nothing of shouting at, harassing, attacking or beating locals and visitors alike.

And don't even get me started on the unwillingness of so many people in Belfast to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.