It is all over the news and international media organizations acknowledge Hungary to be a safe, peaceful and secure country overall. This assessment is reiterated by tourism experts and international travel writers. It is also ascertained by international institutions.
According to a 2012 study of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Hungary had an intentional homicide rate of only 1.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is lower than the European average intentional homicide rate of 3.5, and also lower than the North American average intentional homicide rate of 3.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. Of course, misdemeanor (petty) crimes remain to be a concern, just like in many other western countries.
According to the Global Peace Index (GPI – yes, there is such a list), in 2017 Hungary rose to number 15 in the world, which is a very commendable position indeed out of the 163 countries that are classified. Iceland continues to be No. 1 on this list, a position it held since 2008. It is joined by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark in the top 5. The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Switzerland and Ireland follow. Ahead of Hungary were also Japan, Australia and Norway.
However, what is most surprising (to me and other friends I spoke with) is that the United States, which criticizes Hungary and many other countries for corruption and for being on the wrong political course, is only 114th according to the Global Peace Index. What this essentially means is that the U.S. has lost all legitimacy in telling others how to run their societies! Other countries that so far have encouraged immigration as a way to “improve” their economies include such formerly stable nations such as Italy (No. 38), the United Kingdom (No. 41) and France (No. 38). Even Germany and Belgium are now behind Hungary on the global peace index. Syria remains to be the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.
There was another recommendation for Hungary as one of the safest places for tourists by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Great Britain, which had a list for the safest recommended holiday destinations to visit in 2017 and Hungary was No. 9 on this list.
Even renowned actors, such as Tony Curtis, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as well as Matt Damon considered Budapest a “walkable”, “liveable” and totally safe city, even at night. Even better, Harrison Ford biked around the entire country by himself stopping freely at unknown villages and pubs throughout.
What everyone wants to know why Hungary is considered to be a “safe” and “peaceful” country nowadays, a place in Europe where even the hands of terrorists have not been able to penetrate so far. Well, here are some of my reasons:
- The number one reason Hungary is said to be safe is arguably the current government’s strict immigration policies. The Hungarian government advocates zero tolerance when it comes to illegal immigration, which is overwhelmingly supported by the population.
- The ethnic map of the country is reasonably homogeneous. The population is comprised of nearly 90 percent ethnic Hungarians who are overwhelmingly Christians with strong cultural traditions. There are no ethnic conflicts or religious wars in the country.
- Civilians are not allowed to own handguns or other lethal weapons, except when they are specifically approved for that purpose. Hungary is not a crazed gun-slinging nation like the United States. The lack of handguns in civilian hands also contributes to the low crime rate.
- Hungarians are sometimes grim or disgruntled folks, but they are not venomous or criminally inclined people. They have spats and altercations, but they seldom injure each other or commit homicide against their fellow countrymen.
- The Hungarian borders are secure. The country’s EU borders are less strictly controlled, but there is now a dual border fence installed along the southern border with Serbia with extensions planned for the Croatian and Romanian borders, while border patrol officers keep a close eye on illegals trying to enter the country.
There is an old U.S. saying: live and learn! Even some leading western democracies can learn from Hungary with respect to how to build a more peaceful and safer society. We have listed a number of reasons why Hungary is a peaceful and safe country today. The only mitigating factor we sometimes forget is ourselves. We still have not fully learned to adopt the win-win approach in our society. To enhance our economy and build a more equitable and more prosperous society, we need to understand that helping others may help all of us. We need to be a more inclusive and cooperative society when it comes to helping each other!