Crime For Members

FACT CHECK: Is crime really on the rise in Vienna?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
FACT CHECK: Is crime really on the rise in Vienna?
Police cars stand in front of Schoenbrunn Palace on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Alex HALADA / AFP)

The far-right in Austria often claims crime is on the rise and tries to connect that with the rising numbers of migrants. But how valid is this claim? Here is the latest data from the Vienna police.


Austria is a very safe country to live in, having one of the lowest crime rates in the world. However, if you pay attention to politicians' speeches, especially those from the far-right, you might get a different picture. 

"The wave of foreign violence does not subside in Austria", reads a far-right press release from January 2023, when two cases involving foreign citizens made headlines in Austria. At the time, a Polish man was arrested suspected of murdering a young mother in Vienna, and an Iraqi citizen allegedly stabbed his partner in Linz. 


Far-right leader Michael Schnedlitz wrote: "The reports are shocking and the result of the decades-long failure of the ÖVP in asylum and immigration policy. These events make us speechless. How many more people are to lose their lives before the black-green federal government finally acts?"

The party added: "Decades of ÖVP failure make Austria an increasingly unsafe place to live", calling for the ruling coalition to curb migration in the country, particularly to the capital Vienna.

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But is crime really on the rise in Vienna? 

A recent report by the Vienna State Police Directorate (Landespolizeidirektion) showed the crime trends in Vienna with statistics for 2022. 

According to the police, after declining in the two pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, criminal offences increased 16.7 percent for the year 2022, totalling 168,303 offences.

However, overall crime remained below the level recorded in 2019, when 173,574 offences were registered. In 2013, before the migration crisis and when the Austrian population was smaller, there were 212,503 criminal offences filed.

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The most common type of crime in Vienna is "property crime" including theft, pickpocketing, and burglaries. According to the police, the number of residential burglaries increased by 42.9 percent from 2021 to 2022, totalling 2,873 cases. In comparison, in 2019, there were 4,135 reports, while in 2013, there were 8,703.

In 2022, about 52.9 percent of the suspects investigated were of foreign origin, a proportion 33.7 percent higher than in 2013. By the end of 2022, about 34.3 percent of Vienna's population was foreign citizens, according to Statistik Austria.

The Viennese police did not give information on how many foreigners were arrested and how many were found guilty.

What are the police doing to combat crime?

The Vienna Police Department said it would further intensify the presence of uniformed and civilian law enforcement officers in public spaces and continue "investigative measures to prevent clashes between ethnic groups and to solve crimes".

The police report didn't specify instances of "clashes between ethnic groups", but it did say the number of violent crimes increased 13.7 percent year on year in 2022, to 27,240. However, the majority (56.9 percent) of the violent crimes committed were preceded by a relationship between the offender and the victim.

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"Furthermore, investigations into pickpocketing, narcotics procurement crime and gang crime are being further intensified.", the police headquarters added.


Finally, the authorities also said that the focus would continue to be combating cybercrime and stepping up prevention work. In 2022, cybercrime rose sharply again in Vienna. Within the past ten years, the number of reported offences increased from 3,390 in 2013 to 22,230 in 2022.



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