Which districts in Hamburg are dangerous?

01/03/2021 - Hamburg
At the beginning of each year, the Hamburg police publish their Police Crime Statistics (PKS) on the crime situation of the previous year. This year, the PKS for 2020 was released on February 2, 2021. Of particular note in 2020 was the lowest level of residential burglaries since 1972.
For the year 2020, the PKS lists the following figures for the whole of Hamburg:
Criminal offenses:* 191,123
Violent offenses:* 6,918
Thefts:* 80,365
The individual districts of Hamburg show some dramatic differences in terms of criminal offenses. For example, St. Georg (18,299 criminal offenses) heads the list of districts with the most criminal offenses by a clear margin over St. Pauli (12,503). Accordingly, there are 5,769 crimes between St. Georg and St. Pauli, which corresponds to a difference of approximately 46 percent between St. Georg and St. Pauli. Between St. Georg and number three on the list, the district of Harburg, there is a whopping 160 percent!
However, in order to be able to make a statement about the security situation of the individual districts, one should not rely solely on the absolute figures. The relationship between the absolute number of crimes and the number of inhabitants can provide additional information that can be used for the individual assessment of the "dangerousness" of a district.
In the further course of this article, we will therefore repeatedly refer to the absolute and relative figures.

Criminal offenses

If you look at the absolute number of cases, the picture is clear: St. Georg is the most dangerous district of Hamburg. This is mainly due to the fact that St. Georg is home to the Hanseatic city's main station. The runner-up in the list of neighborhoods with the most crimes is St. Pauli, primarily because the Reeperbahn, the city's largest red-light district, is located here.

over all

per 100 inhabitants

If you look at the number of crimes per 100 inhabitants, the picture is somewhat different. The old town is passing St. Georg by. To understand this, one must understand that Hamburg's Altstadt is primarily a shopping area. Relatively few people live there in relation to the crimes committed. In addition, Altstadt, with 1.3 km² total area, is significantly smaller than St. Georg, with 1.8 km².
In terms of the number of criminal acts, Hamburg's Altstadt is also a not entirely safe place.
But the total number of crimes is only of limited value in assessing the safety of a district. The total number of crimes also includes white-collar crimes. While these types of offenses are often very painful for the businesses involved, they usually mainly affect companies. For the assessment of the dangerousness of a district for "normal" citizens, however, these crimes are rather negligible.

Violent offenses

Violent crimes play a special role in assessing the dangerousness of a neighborhood, even though it fortunately usually accounts for only a small proportion of the total number of crimes. For a resident's or visitor's personal sense of security, it is primarily important that physical integrity is not endangered. In second place comes the integrity of property, which is why we devote a separate section to the topic of theft below.

over all

per 100 inhabitants

St. Georg also tops the inglorious list of districts with the most violent crimes. And when it comes to violent crime, Hamburg's old town also tops the list when the number of offenses is put in relation to the number of inhabitants.
Violent crimes include crimes against life and limb. These are assault, murder, manslaughter, hostage-taking, rape and other. For assessing the safety of a neighborhood in terms of physical integrity, this indicator is therefore the most meaningful.

Thefts

While the number of violent crimes is a good indicator for assessing physical integrity, the number of thefts can provide a good guide to property security.

over all

per 100 inhabitants

As if one had suspected it: St. Georg is once again "in the lead" in terms of thefts, and here, too, Altstadt moves to the top of the list when the number of inhabitants is taken into account. However, the gap between the Altstadt and St. Georg in terms of thefts per 100 inhabitants is extremely large. With 167.7 to 46.4, Alststadt shows a value that is almost four times as high as the value of St. Georg. Statistically, each inhabitant of Hamburg's Altstadt commits 1.6 thefts per year. If one were to look solely at this figure, one could almost consider the Altstadt to be the "epicenter of Hamburg crime." Of course, this figure distorts reality: it is probably more likely that many thefts are not committed by residents of the district, but by "guests".
Nevertheless, the probability of becoming a victim of a theft in the Altstadt is very high. When you live in the Altstadt, even four times higher than in St. Georg and almost eight times as high as in Hammerbrook.

Unfortunately, no current population figures are available for the districts of Altenwerder, Gut Moor, Steinwerder, Waltershof and Neuwerk. Therefore, no information on these districts can be listed in this article.

*Source: Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik Hamburg 2020 (Polizei Hamburg)