Overview of the Bad Neighborhoods in Berlin
Berlin is bubbling with culture, intriguing nightlife, and a relatively low cost of living. However, this city has various districts or streets with different personalities; you need to identify the bad neighborhoods to avoid before relocating or visiting.
The bad neighborhoods and areas in Berlin are mainly located in the city center and include Neukölln, Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, and Charlottenburg. This is due to the high crime rates, prostitution, and drug peddling that takes place in these areas. It’s advisable to stay away from these places, especially at night.
Nothing’s worse than being pickpocketed while on a trip or getting home to find your possessions stolen. In this regard, this article gives you a clear picture of Berlin by analyzing its crime rate. It also lists and describes the dangerous spots to avoid in this beautiful and cultural city.
Also read the guide why you should not move to Berlin, never, ever.
Areas and districts to avoid in Berlin
You might be surprised, but Berlin is the most dangerous city in Germany after Frankfurt am Main. In 2019, Berlin’s police registered approximately 513,000 criminal offenses.
Berlin has a mix of bustling, alive communities and laid-back suburban streets. This city is divided into twelve districts or “Bezirke”; they include Mitte, Friedrichshain, Charlottenburg, Wedding, Neukölln, Pankow, Litchenberg, Tempelhof, Treptow, Spandau, Mahrzahn, and Steglit-zehlendorf.
Below are some of the areas to avoid while in Berlin.
According to the crime statistics, district Neukölln is the fourth most unsafe place in Berlin.
Neukölln is located on the southeastern side of Berlin, close to the Shonefeld Airport and adjacent to the Kreuzberg district. This district also borders Alt-Treptow, Baumschulenweg, Tempelhof, and Planterwald.
Neukölln is divided into nine neighborhoods which include Rollberg, Schillerpromenade, Flughafenstraße, Reuterkiez, Weiße Siedlung, High-Deck-Siedlung, and Körnerpark. This area has several public parks in its western and eastern outskirts.
About 320,000 people live in this city; ethnic Germans make up 58%, non-nationals are around 22%, and migrants are approximately 58%.
The northern parts of the district have the highest numbers of migrants, which is about 65%. Some ethnic groups include; Yugoslavia, Arabian, Turkish, Polish, Yugoslavia, and Sowjetunion.
That said, most of this district’s population comprises of young educated people. However, they don’t affect this district’s social life as most of them leave after starting a family.
Neukölln is full of vintage shops, markets, and vegan eateries, making it a favorite for cool kids. The creative community in this district is alive and makes it their goal for everyone to feel welcomed into bars, art galleries, and groovy restaurants.
This district also buzzes with the LGBTQ community, hence quite inclusive.
Infrastructure in Neukölln is efficient as it offers easy access through the city. Additionally, this district contains many historic buildings and has the highest capacity for immigrants.
That said, Neukölln is among the top four most unsafe districts in Berlin. The poverty levels in this district are quite high, contributing to the high crime rates.
Youth and child crimes are pretty high in this district due to the high percentage of young adults. The Hermanstrasee and Hermanplatz areas have the highest crime rates.
Mitte is the central district of Berlin as it contains both the East and West regions of the city. It consists of six sub-districts which include Mitte proper, Gesundbrunnen, Hansaviertel, Moabit, Tiergarten and Wedding. In this regard, Mitte shows the diverse aspects of Berlin.
Mitte is among the two districts, another being Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, divided between the east and west sides of Berlin. This district also surrounds Berlin’s main historic aspects.
This district has many galleries, museums, and major historic sites like the Jewish memorial, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Potsdamer Platz, and Bradensburg. Therefore, this is the best place to visit or relocate to if you’re a fan of archeological ruins or an art lover.
This district also has many job opportunities hence perfect for expats in search of greener pastures.
Mitte has about 385,748 people. The number of females in this district is higher than males as it sits at 51.4%. Generally, the Mitte’s population median age is forty-three years. That said, this district has many young people due to Humboldt University.
Due to the high numbers of tourists visiting this district, pickpocketing incidences are high here. Tourists get occupied as they romp from one attraction to the next, making it easy for criminals to steal without noticing.
The crime rates in Berlin Mitte rank as the highest in this district, with about 27,000 crimes per 100,000 residents.
Alexanderplatz in Mitte
Alexanderplatz is one of the most popular places for tourists in Berlin, yet, it’s not the safest one. Due to its central location, it’s a city’s hub for public transport. That fact attracts many homeless and other questionable people.
Thefts, drugs, and assaults are common in this area. In 2021, 5,073 were reported only in Alexanderplatz. To lower the crime, Berlin’s police has opened an extra station there.
Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg was created by merging an east ad west Berlin burroughs. It’s located on the southern side of Mitte. This district was previously one of the poorest in Berlin but has since developed into a trendy scene.
Young expats or students who want to live amid all the entertainment in Berlin are best suited for Friedrichshain. Although this district was widely damaged during the World War II bombing, it’s now rebuilt and buzzing with creatives.
Consequently, there are several co-working spaces due to the many innovators.
Aside from the lively nightlife and cheap rent, this district has countless pubs, clubs, and bars, making it a hotspot for students. Friedrichshain also has various cultures, and its residents handle life easily.
Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has about 290,386 people, with a majority of them being young adults. The number of males in this district exceeds that of females, with more than eight thousand. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is also buzzing with immigrants, especially the Turkish hence having a vast Turkish market.
Although you can walk safely in Mitte’s streets during the day, you should avoid them at night or with children.
This is because a sharp rise in crimes like theft, drug offenses, transport fraud, and physical assault has recently been reported. The Golitzer park is a crime hot spot in this district, and thus you should avoid strolling there after dark. For example, in 2021, there were 5,967 criminal offenses only in that park.
Yet, the park is very well visited by locals and tourists, especially in summer. You might see drug dealers standing at the entrances offering their products. Hence, it’s not surprising that drug violations are the number one criminal offense in this area.
Kottbusser Tor in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Kottbusser Tor is particularly known for shoplifting. In 2021, there were 420 cases of this crime. Besides, pickpocketing is also common, with 460 offenses.
Police also tracked 758 drug crimes in 2021. This all makes Kottbusser Tor one of the top places to avoid in Berlin.
Warschauer Brücke in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
The Warschauer Brücke or Warsaw bridge connects the popular entertainment spots in Friedrichshain. The RAW area with the numerous clubs, the area of Simon-Dach-Kiez with the many bars and restaurants.
During the tourist season, Warschauer Brücke is frequently crossed. Drug-related offenses and assaults like robbery are pretty common there. Especially the part between Schlesisches Tor and RAW area are better to be avoided at night.
Generally, Charlottenburg is the safe area and one of the top recommended districts for living for expats. However, crime rates are pretty high around Hardenbergplatz and Breitscheidplatz.
Charlottenburg is located on the west side of Berlin and is named after the Sophia Charlotte of Hannover. This district also borders Halensee, Moabit, Tiergarten, Hansaviertel, and Schöneberg.
This district is popular due to its enormous shopping centers, making it easy to get jobs in renowned enterprises like Apple and Chanel.
Around 130,663 people live in this district. A large part of the population consists of young people due to the presence of the ESCP business school or the Technical University and several art schools. It’s also full of English-speaking expats; easy to blend in.
If you’re looking for a peaceful neighborhood in Berlin, this is the best place for you. This is because Charlottenburg residents are ambitious, tradition-conscious, and value a specific mode of life hence not chaotic. Consequently, this district has high rents and thus isn’t suitable when trying to save some coins.
Charlottenburg’s boulevard attracts lots of tourists due to the many shopping malls. For this reason, the number of pickpocketers is also relatively high. Always watch your bag in this area and avoid accepting help from strangers as they can easily disappear with your belongings.
Shoplifting is also high in this area. Therefore, if you intend on starting a business here, ensure that the security is tight to avoid losing your property.
Which areas of Berlin are bad or dangerous?
The Berlin’s police currently report following areas and the “Bezirks” where they are located with the most crime:
- Alexanderplatz (Alexander square) – in Mitte
- Leopoldplatz (Leopold square) – in Mitte
- Schöneberg-Nord – Schöneberg North (Nollendorfplatz and Regenbogenkiez) – in Tempelhof-Schöneberg
- Görlitzer Park – in Kreuzberg
- Warschauer Brücke (Warsaw bridge) – in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
- Kottbusser Tor (Kottbusser Gate) – in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
- And parts of following streets Hermannstraße (Hermann street), Hermannplatz (Hermann square), Rigaer Straße (Rigaer street) – in Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
The “Bezirkes” are further partitioned into smaller divisions known as “Kiez,” which are also split into several streets with different characteristics and personalities. Although some areas are safe regardless of the time, others are risky. See the full list of Kiezes in Berlin.
Here are the crime rates in Berlin.
That said, below are some of the risks you may encounter in Berlin streets.
Pickpocketing is the paramount crime in this city. It’s easy to be pickpocketed not only in tourist areas and public transportation but also in pubs and clubs.
That said, pickpocketers target both travelers and Berliners. Therefore, whether visiting or relocating to Berlin, always be alert, as carelessness will make it easy for these criminals to steal your smartphones, cash, and credit cards.
Locals are the most prone to mugging and kidnapping in Berlin. Therefore, always stay alert if you relocate to this city. Although these incidences are rare among tourists, you should keep watch to be on the safe side.
Berlin is a larger city in Germany, but it has only a few terrorist attacks, including the most recent one in 2016. The last one was on 18 August 2020, when a driver rammed his car into another vehicle, and so injured six people.
These criminal activities mainly take place in congested or crowded areas. Although tourists aren’t the ultimate target of such attacks, they can be victims in case they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That said, compared to other German cities, Berlin is a hot spot.
Tourists are susceptible to being scammed as they are easy to trick. Scammers will try to divert your attention and then disappear with your belongings. Never accept help from strangers; instead, insist on carrying your luggage.
Across Germany, 815 people were killed with the gun in 2018. The rate of shooting deaths in Germany is 1.01 per 100,000 yearly. This means that gun death is reported every one and a half days, given the population in Berlin is more than three million residents.
That said, below is a representation of the number of guns per hundred people in Berlin.
Nonetheless, gun crime in Germany is significantly lower than in the US, for example. The US is ranked in 1st place, and Germany the 15th. Moreover, the murder rate in the US is 19 times higher than in Germany. There are also 11 times more rapes than in Germany.