Is Belgium Safe? A Comprehensive Analysis of Security and Travel Tips

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Belgium is generally a very safe country by world standards. However, it’s important to keep safety in mind when planning a trip to any county

Crime rates in Belgium are relatively low, and most travelers experience no issues during their stay. However, petty theft and pickpocketing can be a concern, particularly in busy, tourist-heavy areas such as Brussels.

of course, you should always take safety precautions when traveling, but also stay up to date with any threats of terrorism or travel advisories when you are abroad.

Key Takeaways

  • Belgium is generally a safe destination with low crime rates, but travelers should still exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.
  • Petty theft and pickpocketing are concerns in busy areas; stay vigilant and protect your belongings.
  • Despite the ongoing terrorism threat, Belgium’s public transportation system remains safe and reliable.

General Safety in Belgium

As I mentioned above, Belgium is generally considered a safe country for travelers. However, in bigger cities like Brussels and Antwerp, you should be aware that petty theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation. To protect your belongings, keep a close eye on your personal items and consider using a secure travel bag with anti-theft features.

Terrorism has also been a challenge in Belgium, although the risk level has decreased in recent years. Visitors should always be vigilant, stay informed about local news and events, and follow the advice of local authorities. By exercising a high degree of caution and following travel safety tips, tourists can better protect themselves from potential threats.

When exploring the major cities in Belgium, such as

  • Brussels
  • Antwerp
  • Ghent

Travelers should avoid dark and deserted areas at night, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area. It’s also a good practice to stick to well-lit streets and make use of the buddy system when possible. By doing so, you can effectively minimize the risk of encountering issues while moving around in Belgian cities.

Crime Rates and Types

In this section, we will discuss various crime rates and types in Belgium, including violent crime, theft and burglaries, as well as scams and fraud.

Violent Crime

Violent crimes in Belgium are relatively low compared to other countries. Intentional homicides can occur as a result of various factors, such as domestic disputes, interpersonal violence, and gang-related conflicts over turf or control1. However, these incidents are generally limited in number and are not committed by large, organized groups.

Theft and Burglaries

Belgium experiences typical theft and burglary rates, like many other European countries. The occurrence of these crimes tends to be higher in the bigger cities, like most crime. Nonetheless, the overall safety in Belgium remains comparatively good, with large cities such as Brussels being considered safer than those in nearby European countries.

Scams and Fraud

Scams and fraud are also present in Belgium, as in any other country. Tourists and residents alike should remain vigilant and cautious, particularly when visiting tourist hotspots or engaging in online transactions. Being aware of the various methods used by scammers can help you avoid falling victim to such crimes.


  1. Belgium Crime Rate & Statistics 1990-2023

Transportation Safety

Road Safety

Belgium has a well-developed road infrastructure, and the authorities closely monitor and enforce traffic regulations. Despite these efforts, road accidents still occur, with 4.3 road fatalities per 100,000 population recorded in 2020. The main causes of accidents include

  • speeding
  • distracted driving
  • driving under the influence

To address these concerns, stricter control of speed limits, black-spot treatment, and infrastructure adjustments are implemented. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists should exercise caution, as they are also involved in accidents, accounting for 13%, 17%, and 19% of fatalities, respectively. Wearing appropriate safety gear, staying visible, and following traffic rules can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

Public Transport

Belgium’s public transportation system is reliable and safe, including buses, trams, and trains. However, travelers are advised to be vigilant as pickpockets and thieves are known to frequent these modes of transport. According to Travel Safe – Abroad, pickpocketing risk is high in public transport.

To protect oneself from these risks, be aware of your surroundings, keep personal belongings secure, and avoid displaying valuable items or electronics. Additionally, try to travel in well-lit, crowded areas, and avoid isolated stations or platforms, especially during late hours.

If you are heading to Brussels, particularly Bruxelles-Midi or Brussel-Zuid, then I recommend not walking directly to your destination. Instead, take a local bus to get around. It is what the locals do and will help you avoid the most dodgy area of town.

Likewise, if you arrive at Antwerp Central station, particularly at night, try to catch a tram or hail an Uber or taxi to avoid walking around and attracting attention.

Travel Safety Tips

When planning a trip to Belgium, it is essential to keep safety in mind. Below are a few key areas to consider, including emergency numbers and personal safety precautions.

Emergency Numbers

In case of emergencies, familiarize yourself with Belgium’s emergency numbers. Dialing 112 will connect you to the police, fire, and medical assistance services. It is crucial to have this number at hand in case of any unfortunate incident during your travel.

Personal Safety Precautions

While Belgium is generally a safe country, it is essential to take standard safety and security precautions. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas and train stations. Pickpocketing and petty theft may occur, so keep your personal belongings secure at all times.

When traveling on public transportation, remain vigilant and be cautious of strangers who might approach you. At night, avoid walking alone in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas. Stick to well-traveled streets and populated areas where possible.

Additionally, Belgium faces a risk of terrorism, and travelers should exercise increased caution. Stay informed about any safety-related updates, and be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities. Taking these safety precautions into consideration will help ensure a more enjoyable and secure visit to Belgium.

Frequently Asked Questions

How safe is it for tourists in Belgium?

Belgium is generally safe for tourists, but like any other country, it is important to remain vigilant and take precautions. Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist destinations, so keep an eye on your belongings and follow safety recommendations.

What is the crime rate in Belgium?

The crime rate in Belgium is moderate and similar to various other European countries. Violent crimes are relatively uncommon, but incidents of petty theft and pickpocketing can be more frequent in tourist-heavy areas.

Are there any areas to avoid in Belgium for safety reasons?

There are no specific areas in Belgium known to be particularly dangerous for tourists. However, it is always a good idea to research your destination beforehand and avoid traveling to neighborhoods with a high crime rate or a reputation for being unsafe. The Most Dangerous Cities in Belgium list can provide additional information.

What precautions should one take when visiting Belgium?

When visiting Belgium, follow common safety practices such as:
Avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas
Safeguarding your personal belongings
Not displaying valuable items in public
Staying vigilant in crowded places
It is also important to familiarize yourself with local customs and cultural sensitivities to ensure a respectful and safe visit.

How reliable is public transportation in Belgium in terms of safety?

Public transportation in Belgium, such as buses, trams, and trains, is generally reliable and safe. However, be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded stations and during rush hours. Keep your belongings secure and stay vigilant while using public transportation.

Does Belgium have any specific travel warnings or advisories?

The U.S. Department of State advises travelers to exercise increased caution in Belgium due to the potential risk of terrorism. Terrorist groups may plot attacks targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, and other public spaces, but the country is generally safe for visiting. Keep yourself informed and up to date on the Belgium Travel Advisory for any changes.

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