I’ve lived in Frankfurt for some time now and surprisingly, I’ve received a few questions on whether I feel safe living in the big city on the Main. To sum it up, I also lived in Johannesburg, South Africa for some years which is known for its safety issues and I came out alive. This post will go into whether I think Frankfurt is a dangerous place or not and whether you should visit.
This post is all a part of my guide to living in Frankfurt, Germany where I list out all the things you need to know as an expat in Frankfurt and Germany.
Frankfurt crime statistics
First of all, Germany and Europe as a whole is largely considered “safe”. This is especially true comparing to where I come from which is the USA where there are seemingly random shootings every few weeks that can’t be stopped. Frankfurt is statistically considered one of Germany’s most dangerous cities because of odd criteria.
As of 2018, criminal statistics showed that there were 14,864 crimes per 100,000 citizens in Frankfurt. This is actually the highest in Germany with the next highest in Hanover at 14,616. However, these statistics are pretty garbage because these “crimes” are not what you think of them to be ala stabbings or robberies.
Most of these numbers stem from the airport where they log petty crimes that are not even considered crimes in anyone’s book like arriving without necessary paperwork, or stealing a suitcase. I’m not sure why they even record these as “crimes” but if you’re thinking of violent crimes, Frankfurt does not have much of this.
Bahnhofsviertel District in Frankfurt
For the most part, tourists coming to Frankfurt may hear “it is mostly a safe place but watch out for the Bahnhofsviertel”. The Bahnhofsviertel is the neighborhood directly surrounding the Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof surroundings is not the prettiest of neighborhoods and it is the reason why tourists think of Frankfurt as a grimey place. In fact, now that I think about it, the main train stations in almost all of the main European cities I visited are usually the sketchiest areas of town.
Almost everyone starts off in the Bahnhofsviertel whether it’s by train coming from the airport or somewhere else in Germany. You need to walk through the Bahnhofsviertel in order to reach the Innenstadt which is the “downtown” area of the Frankfurt equipped with shopping malls and other things.
The Red Light district of Frankfurt
The infamous Red light district of Frankfurt is located in the Bahnhofsviertel on and around one street, Taunusstrasse. This street is filled with brothels, strip clubs and the sort. Unlike the red light district of Amsterdam where you can see the girls from the street, these brothels require you to walk inside. Aside from brothels, there are also lots of bars, kebab shops, and other potentially seedy looking things. Of course, let’s not forget all the druggies here that are shooting up on the street and maybe even dealing drugs on the side.
Is Bahnhofsviertel really that bad?
So there you have it. Bahnhofsviertel is the place to sleep with prostitutes, do drugs, and potentially get stabbed. Well I’m here to say that as someone that actually lived in the Bahnhofsviertel for a few months, all of these fears are unfounded. Compared to other “sketchy” neighborhoods in Europe, I find tourist hotspots like London and Paris to be much worse. Frankfurt is a very small city and any questionable areas that do exist are small in size so you can easily avoid them.
I actually lived in the Bahnhofsviertel for a few months when I first moved here. I rather liked the neighborhood with its large collection of international restaurants that I could have. Its proximity to all the transportation options as well as the Hauptbahnhof means I could get around the city easily. It is also close to the Main river which is great for jogging or having a drink. I walked through the Bahnhofsviertel every day and loved it
Just avoid Taunusstrasse
If you are really worried about crime in Frankfurt, just completely avoid the main street altogether. From the Hauptbahnhof, simply avoid the Taunusstrasse and you will be fine. If anything, the “main” street in the Bahnhofsviertel is the Kaiserstrasse which is one street over from Taunusstrasse.
There’s very little violent crime
Whatever crimes that do exist in Frankfurt are mostly just pickpocketing and the like. This happens in every city by the way so Frankfurt is not special in this regards. As far as stabbings or shootings, you will not see much of it here, even in the Bahnhofsviertel.
Most of the drug addicts keep to themselves from what I’ve seen. They just want to do their thing in peace and not be bothered by others. I’ve walked through the Taunusstrasse on numerous nights and have never had any problems or even any potential of having problems.
If anything, I think the more dangerous area of Frankfurt would be the Alt-Sachsenhausen district which is famous for its density of late night bars. No matter where you are in the world, areas filled with young and super drunk people can result in some sort of violence. If anything bad would happen it would probably be here after having too many beers. The good thing is from the main train station, it is a half hour walk away to the Alt Sachsenhausen so you would really have to seeking it out. Also, it really only gets crazy on Friday and Saturday nights.
Is Frankfurt a Dangerous place?
So with all the facts and commentary dispensed, is Frankfurt a dangerous place? The resounding answer from me is no. In fact, I find it quite hilarious that people even think Frankfurt is such a dodgy place. First of all, it is Germany. There is not much violent crime here to begin with. If you’re coming from America (like myself) and asking yourself this question, I will laugh at you even more. With our weekly mass shootings and
Secondly, Frankfurt is quite an upscale city. There is a lot of wealth in this city and plenty of very nice neighborhoods like Nordend or Westend where posh Altbau’s dot the streets.
Third, like most places that get a bad wrap through reputation, every city has questionable areas that you just need to know to avoid. Frankfurt has one or two but in comparison to the “dodgy” areas of other European cities, it is not even close to as bad.
Frankfurt isn’t the tourist hotspot that comes to my mind when taking a trip to Germany. It’s not that there is nothing to do in Frankfurt, but that there are just too many other amazing German cities and villages to visit. Nearby to Frankfurt there are fantastic places like Heidelberg, or the Burg Eltz castle, or lovely towns like Wurzburg.
Just skip the Bahnhofsviertel
If you are really that concerned for your safety, and to which I will laugh at you without remorse, there is always the option of just taking the train two stops and skipping it altogether. From the Hauptbanhof, you can take almost any train (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, or Tram) and skip the Bahnhofsviertel. Take the train to either Hauptwache (one stop on the S-Bahn), or Willy Brand Platz (one stop on the U-bahn) and you’ll literally be away from the “sketchy” area of Frankfurt.
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