Crime and Scams in Denmark: Tips to Stay Safe

Denmark is one of the safest countries you can visit, but it's not without its share of petty crime. Here's what you should look out for to stay safe.

Shares

Copenhagen, Denmark Photo © iStock/SeanPavonePhoto

Crime hot spots in Denmark

Even the safest countries have their crime problems. This Scandinavian nation has recently experienced a rise in gang violence, particularly among immigrant groups.

These altercations are centered in the main immigrant enclave of Nørrebro in northwest Copenhagen. A spate of shootings has taken place due to the rivalry between the Loyal to Familia gang from Blågårds Plads in Nørrebro and Brothas from Mjølner Park in the outer Nørrebro area. In 2017 there were more than 30 shootings and four fatalities as a result of the gang war.

Recent news stories have reported immigrant populations from North Africa and the Middle East feel growing animosity directed at them due to these gang clashes. They claim that any non-European is looked at like a second-rate citizen in Copenhagen, which has a sizable Muslim population.

If you feel victimized or discriminated against due to your ethnic background, race, or nationality, you can contact the local police (emergency number 112) and reach out to your country's embassy or consulate. Denmark also has the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, where you may be able to seek compensation if you are seriously injured in a crime. Incidents must be reported to police within 72 hours to be eligible for this program.

Foreign and local biker gangs in Denmark are involved in violent and organized crimes connected to drug trafficking. Hells Angels, Bandidos and German Guerilla Nation are some groups connected to drug-related crimes.

Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous state within Copenhagen’s city limits, a short walk from the bustling food market at Paper Island. It attracts tourists due to its weird and wonderful décor, graffiti and noticeable acceptance of all things marijuana. It is sometimes referred to as 'Mini Amsterdam'. Until a recent clampdown, it was possible to buy soft drugs out in the open on Pusher Street.

Today, sellers still vend their green wares but may wear masks and are camera-shy. There is no photography allowed on Pusher Street, and it is frowned upon in Christiania as a general rule. Picture taking may be met with visible hostility from the 850-strong resident community. The Hells Angels are believed to be heavily involved in cannabis dealing in the area.

Christiania is a lawless enclave. Do not walk around unaccompanied after dark for your own safety. Some female travelers also report feeling unsafe during daylight.

Vesterbro

The Vesterbro area is one of the less-affluent parts of Copenhagen and travelers may encounter prostitutes soliciting and drug users, although the area is witnessing rapid gentrification.

Some shootings have occurred in this area, so exercise caution when walking at night. Remove yourself from any location or situation that seems suspicious or hostile. 

Ørstedsparken

Travelers report this area is a beat for gay men clad in leather - a.k.a. 'bears'. if you are approached (and are not interested) politely decline and you'll be fine. 

Århus

Some travelers, especially men, advise against walking around in the city at night, reporting stumbling drunks looking for a fight. Another traveler said he was offered some shots of alcohol in a bar there and didn't remember getting home. Football fans can be volatile if their team loses or they encounter a fan of the opposing team. Aarhus GF football team fans are nicknamed “Ultra White Pride” and are known for clashes with fans of rivals teams.

Public transport safety in Denmark

Pickpockets and purse-snatchings have been reported at train stations including Copenhagen Central. While it's never smart to carry items like passports, if apprehended by officials you should have some legal documentation with you. Carry a copy of passport.

Pickpocketers operate on buses and trains, and at Copenhagen Airport. Thieves often work in pairs so one can distract the victim while the other commits the crime. Thieves may barge into you or trip you to distract you before lifting your wallet.

Hotel safety

Some thieves may be harder to spot, as many dress well and wait in hotel lobbies and other places frequented by travelers. They operate under the assumption that guests feel safe, drop their guard and are more likely to leave bags and purses unattended.

Never put a bag on the back of your chair, including your computer bag, which is a popular item stolen in city centers. Thieves also target cars, so lock up all valuables in the hotel safe and remove everything valuable from your car.

Scams in Denmark

Gambling scams

Strøget Street is known for street gambling, another tourist trap that may drain your wallet in the blink of an eye. Some travelers confessed that they fell for the scheme, which involves guessing where the right playing card is or which cup a ball is hidden under. These street scammers can make you lose as much as 500 kroner fast. In Roskilde, travelers have reported being approached by scammers trying to show them a trick with a ring. Be cautious and don't give into curiosity.

Bird poo scam

in a scam that has popped up in several European countries, unsuspecting victims are splashed by a substance and are offered help by strangers who then help themselves to valuables.

Fake police

Some travelers have reported being asked for ID by police officers using the excuse that they are looking out for drug dealers. They will then ask to see how much money you have on you and ask for a bribe. Some will demand to frisk you, in the process relieving you of your wallet.

Real Danish Police would never ask for a bribe so always ask to see ID. If the fake officer doesn't budge, make a scene or offer to head to the local police station. They will soon leave you alone.

Get a travel insurance quote for Denmark

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Related articles

2 Comments

  • Lost Soul said

    I've been to Denmark twice.
    I must warn people that the Danes are more sexually "out there" than most Americans.
    During my first trip over I was invited by a Danish high school exchange student I'd known for 6 years.
    I thought I knew him really well.
    But I didn't.
    It was expected of me to pleasure him and his 2 lesbian girlfriends.
    When I didn't go along with that I was told I was rude and asked to leave.
    During my next trip I stayed with an Albanian I thought was my friend
    He stole $6000 out of my suitcase, and I think he may be in the Albanian Mafia.
    He enjoyed telling me about an old man shop keeper he beat up saying the dude owed him money, and if he didn't pay up he'd "F*** the guy in the a**!"
    I dont have much nice to say about the Nørrebro, Kobenhavn, Brønshøj, Hussum areas. Too many criminals and thieves!!!

  • Won heart said

    Lost soul - two comments.


    One: You are talking about an Albanian dude. That has nothing to do with Denmark at all. He just happened to be in København, lol?
    Two: Maybe there was a reason he was expecting that. You cannot call him criminal for wanting to sleep with you. You are weird.

Add a Comment