Although Poland boasts that crime rates decline every year, tourists still are warned to be careful while walking the Polish streets. You can find this information for tourists visiting Poland: Poland generally has a low rate of violent crime, the incidence of street crime, which sometimes involves violence, is moderate. Major cities have higher rates of crime against residents and foreign visitors than other areas.

• Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate at major tourist destinations, in train stations, and on trains, trams, and buses in major cities. Theft has occurred on overnight trains. Most pick-pocketing on trains occurs during boarding; in the most common scenario, a group of well-dressed young men will surround a passenger in the narrow aisle of the train, jostling/pick-pocketing him or her as they supposedly attempt to get around the passenger. Keep an eye on cell phones; they are prized by thieves.

• Travelers should beware of taxi drivers who do not display telephone numbers and a company name; these drivers usually charge exorbitant rates. Travelers should order taxis by telephone and use only taxis in the designated taxi ranks at the airport.

• While the number of car thefts and car-jackings has declined significantly, theft from vehicles remains a constant concern. Drivers should be wary of people indicating they should pull over or indicating that something is wrong with their cars. Therefore, if drivers encounter someone indicating that there is trouble with their car and the problem is not apparent, they should continue driving until they find a safe spot (a crowded gas station, supermarket, or even police station) to inspect their vehicles. There also have been incidents of thieves opening or breaking passenger-side doors and windows in slow or stopped traffic to take purses or briefcases left on the seat beside the driver. Those travelling by car should remember to keep windows closed and doors locked. Extremist youth gangs are a threat, particularly in urban areas.

• Verbal harassment and physical attacks directed against members of racial minorities or those who appear to be foreign, particularly those of Asian or African descent, have occurred.

Current Trends in Crime

1. The Crime Rate Is Increasing. The recent string of heinous crimes does not represent a sudden wave of crime. Violent crime actually has been steadily increasing. But in addition to the steady increase of crime has been the changing nature of these crimes.

2. Teenagers Are Responsible for a Disproportionate Share of Violent Crime. The violent-crime rate seems to rise and fall in tandem with the number of teens in the population. But recently, teen violence has exploded during a period in which the teen population remained steady or declined.

3. The Median Age of Criminals Is Dropping. The perception that criminals are getting younger is backed up by statistics. In 1982, 390 teens ages 13-15 were arrested for murder (in the USA). A decade later, this total jumped to 740.

4. A Majority of the Crimes Are Committed by Habitual Criminals. Criminologists found that just 7 percent in each age group committed two-thirds of all violent crime. This included three-fourths of the rapes and robberies, and nearly all of the murders. They also found that this 7 percent had five or more arrests before the age of 18.5. Crime Does Pay: Most Criminals Are Not Caught or Convicted.Consider these statistics concerning burglary in the USA:
500,000 burglaries take place each month 250,000 of these are reported to the police 35,000 arrests are mad 30,450 prosecutions take place 24,060 are convicted 6,010 are sent to prison; the rest paroled.

How English People Fight Crime

1. Put More Police on the Street.
It is not surprising that we have an epidemic of crime in the country when the chances of being caught, prosecuted and convicted are so low. The average criminal has no reason to fear law enforcement.

2. Put More Criminals in Prison. While the idea of incarceration is not new, some of the recent findings are:

  • Incarceration is cheaper than letting a criminal out on the streets.
  • lthough the crime rate is high, the rate of increase has been going down since we started putting more people in prison.
  • lacks and whites are treated equally and that the vast majority of law-abiding African-Americans would gain most from more incarceration of criminals because African-Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
  • Putting criminals behind bars, keeps them off the streets is less expensive to society than letting them back out on the street.

3. Focus on Habitual Criminals. Much violent crime is committed by people who have already been in the criminal justice system. This included those who have been arrested, convicted, or imprisoned, or who are on probation or parole. The chronic offender has had 5 or more arrests by the age of 18 and has gotten away with dozens of other crimes.

4. Keep Violent Criminals in Prison Longer.
The statistics show that, typically, 51 percent of violent criminals were discharged from prison in two years or less, and 76 percent were back on the streets in four years or less. Increase in arrest rates reduces the crime rate, and also decreases crime rates.

5. Focus National and State Resources on Criminals, Not Weapons. Many politicians seem to think that crime can be fought through gun control rather than criminal control. At its best, any gun control bill is only going to affect a very small portion of the criminal element.

6. Provide Alternative Sentencing for Non-Violent Offenders. Criminals who are not a physical threat to society should not be locked up with violent criminals but should be sentenced to projects that will pay back the community. Criminals should pay restitution to their victims and the community. Locking up violent criminals makes sense; locking up non-violent criminals does not. Currently it costs more to warehouse a criminal for one year than it does to send the brightest student to Harvard University.

7. Develop Community Programs Which Deter Crime.
Setting up a neighborhood crime watch program has also been a major deterrent to crime in many neighborhoods. We may be happy that we live in Poland with not peaking crime rates but it is never too late to learn how to prevent most kinds of crime. If we implement the common sense measures in the legislature and in communities, we can make our streets safer.

Improve your vocabulary!

thief – złodziej
pickpocket – kieszonkowiec
theft – kradzież
occur – zdarzyć się
decline – spadek, upadać
significantly – znacznie
wary – przezorny, nieufny
encounter – napotykać
verbal – słowny
harassment – nękanie
sudden – nagły
commit – popełnić
crime – zbrodnia
epidemic – epidemia
incaceration – uwięzienie
politician – polityk
lock up – zamykać
neighbourhood – sąsiedztwo
major – ważny, znaczący
deterrent – czynnik odstraszający