| Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin |
London is the most dangerous capital in the European Union, a survey on crime found. Amsterdam, Dublin, Belfast and Copenhagen were the next most dangerous cities after London in what the researchers called ``common crime'' such as car theft, pickpocketing, burglary and including threatened assaults and ``offensive behavior.''
Higher robbery rates in Europe's wealthier cities are ``the downside of something which is positive,'' said Jan van Dijk, a University of Tilburg professor involved in the survey.
More than three in 10 respondents in London had been a victim of crimes that included burglary, pickpocketing or assault, according to the report. At the other end of the crime scale, Lisbon is ranked as the safest capital, with 10 per cent of residents hit by such "common crime".
The growing affluence of cities such as London was a reason for rising crime rates, one of the study's authors said. Inner London is the region with the highest gross domestic product per capita in the EU.
Robert Manchin, chairman of polling group Gallup Europe, said: "In London people feel that they are being targeted in all kinds of ways. You have a huge population there and the increasing affluence of some people is pushing up crime levels."
Comparative figures in the survey showed that London had more common crime than New York and Istanbul.
The survey was conducted by a consortium including Gallup Europe, the United Nations Inter-Regional Criminal Justice Research Institute and Max Planck Institute.
The survey compared levels of victimization across the EU and measures how citizens feel about their security and safety.
It found that about 30 percent of citizens in 18 EU countries are afraid of burglary and do not feel safe on streets.
Sex crimes were the highest in Germany while France had the highest number of "hate crimes."
The study asked 2,000 citizens in 18 countries about their experiences of crime in 2004. However, the authors acknowledged that the figures in the survey differed from police national data on crime, which in some cases showed different trends.
The study covered the 15 "old" EU countries, as well as newer members Poland, Hungary and Estonia.
A related study shows that crime rates across Europe have dropped sharply over the past decade, according to a survey of 40,000 Europeans asked about their experiences of falling victim to offences ranging from car theft to sexual assault.
Fifteen per cent of those interviewed said they had been victim of a common crime in 2004, down from 21 per cent in 1995 when crime across the continent peaked, according to a telephone survey coordinated by research group Gallup.
"Crime hotspots" were identified as the UK, Ireland, Estonia, Netherlands and Denmark, which all had rates 30% higher than the European average. Ireland and the UK came out on top of the crime scale, with just over 20 per cent of interviewees saying they had recently fallen victim to at least one crime, compared to around 10 per cent in Spain and Hungary and an EU average of 15 per cent.
Burglary was found to be falling in every country in the EU apart from the UK and Finland and the UK is one of only three EU countries – alongside Ireland and Estonia – to be above the EU average for pickpocketing and personal theft.