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Safety in Poland
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the_roads_of_poland



Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You got approached by drug dealing kids and crapped your pants? You've never been approached by a couple of dresy/koksy demanding a beer or cig while joking about dropping you because they... feel like it? Weird.

I've worked in Newark, lived in Brooklyn (Bushwick) and have been to Trenton/Camden millions of times and never felt any more threatened than in Poland. For me, considering the huge and pretty much racially segregated population and monstrous disparity of wealth and privilege in the US, I've always been surprised by how safe it is when compared to Poland, an entirely homogeneous country in terms of... everything... where 95% individuals are part of the same social class.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's about my impression as well.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1035

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_roads_of_poland wrote:
You've never been approached by a couple of dresy/koksy demanding a beer or cig while joking about dropping you because they... feel like it? Weird.


haha, oh how that brings back memories!

i always avoided talking to friends right outside my apartment, especially if ciggies were involved, in order to avoid all the badgering for a ciggie or money, it was constant.
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Seeker of truth



Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject: Is the USA really safer than Poland? Reply with quote

the_roads_of_poland wrote:
I've worked in Newark, lived in Brooklyn (Bushwick) and have been to Trenton/Camden millions of times and never felt any more threatened than in Poland.


On the other hand, in the USA, you have to worry about the govt. sponsoring a terrorist attack and then blaming it on others in order to pursue oil interests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkp-PXf_qlk
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_roads_of_poland wrote:
You got approached by drug dealing kids and crapped your pants?


Actually I've done community work with underprivileged families in Bushwick along with other places, so no, I didn't crap my pants, quite the contrary, I've dealt with bangers, dealers and anything else that the US ghetto has to offer and I can tell you with a clear conscious that it far surpasses anything that I'd ever encountered in Poland.


Quote:
You've never been approached by a couple of dresy/koksy demanding a beer or cig while joking about dropping you because they... feel like it? Weird.


Sure, term is ABS - Absolutny Brak Szyji, but it was never anything worth mentioning.

Quote:
I've worked in Newark, lived in Brooklyn (Bushwick) and have been to Trenton/Camden millions of times and never felt any more threatened than in Poland. For me, considering the huge and pretty much racially segregated population and monstrous disparity of wealth and privilege in the US, I've always been surprised by how safe it is when compared to Poland, an entirely homogeneous country in terms of... everything... where 95% individuals are part of the same social class.


95% of people are a part of the same social class here? Really? I beg to differ.

Also, I'd like you to point me in the direction in Poland, where I can find people carrying guns in the streets, or boroughs in cities where gang violence prevents people from walking few blocks in either direction. There are thousands, tens of thousands of people in the US who live like that. I've seen hools in action on Polish trains, there were too busy fighting with themselves to worry about the rest of the passengers. Drive by shootings however are a very different thing.

Here's a great article about Camden from last year... can you imagine something like this happening here? I can't, at least not for another 20+ years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/nyregion/overrun-by-crime-camden-trades-in-its-police-force.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Now, I think the main problem is, this is not our land, we don't feel comfortable here by default, therefore the threat levels are often exaggerated. Hence the idea that we feel safer in crime ridden US cities. Can you honestly tell me that you think that Poland is more dangerous than the US?
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without any hesitation at all.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 970
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infinite wrote:
Now, I think the main problem is, this is not our land, we don't feel comfortable here by default, therefore the threat levels are often exaggerated. Hence the idea that we feel safer in crime ridden US cities. Can you honestly tell me that you think that Poland is more dangerous than the US?
Valid point here. When I first arrived in Gdansk, I remember constantly thinking a fight was about to break out. People would often raise their voices and gesticulate quite aggressively at each other. In the US, this almost always meant fists were about to fly. But in Gdansk, things quickly cooled off and the people often parted ways chuckling.

ecocks, you were faced with a very brutal murder upon your arrival to PL. Tragic, but likely an isolated event. I'll be interested to see whether you change your tune after you've been here a while.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks wrote:
Without any hesitation at all.


Perhaps the (unfounded) fear that Poles have about crime is contagious.

Taken from Wikipedia article about crime in Poland article

'Newer studies (2009) report that the crime victimisation rate in Poland is constantly decreasing, and in 2008 Poland was 25th among 36 European countries.[3][4] A 2004 report on security concerns of European Union residents indicated that the Polish public is the most afraid of crime (along with Greece), a finding which does not correlate with the actual crime threat.'

This underlines the problem with this discussion. Actual crime and perceived crime (not just in Poland I'd say) can often be completely at odds with each other.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
Infinite wrote:
Now, I think the main problem is, this is not our land, we don't feel comfortable here by default, therefore the threat levels are often exaggerated. Hence the idea that we feel safer in crime ridden US cities. Can you honestly tell me that you think that Poland is more dangerous than the US?
Valid point here. When I first arrived in Gdansk, I remember constantly thinking a fight was about to break out. People would often raise their voices and gesticulate quite aggressively at each other. In the US, this almost always meant fists were about to fly. But in Gdansk, things quickly cooled off and the people often parted ways chuckling.

ecocks, you were faced with a very brutal murder upon your arrival to PL. Tragic, but likely an isolated event. I'll be interested to see whether you change your tune after you've been here a while.


There is that but its more based upon that in the 4+ years overseas I have met more people who have had assaults, muggings and robberies than in the previous 40 back home. And that counts university and military environments plus a year working in a medium-sized bar but not childhood or buddies goofing around and fighting for fun.
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:

ecocks, you were faced with a very brutal murder upon your arrival to PL. Tragic, but likely an isolated event. I'll be interested to see whether you change your tune after you've been here a while.


Or imagine arriving in NYC a week or a month after 9/11... or in CT after the school shooting, or Columbine, Waco TX etc etc... shock doctrine.
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks wrote:


There is that but its more based upon that in the 4+ years overseas I have met more people who have had assaults, muggings and robberies than in the previous 40 back home. And that counts university and military environments plus a year working in a medium-sized bar but not childhood or buddies goofing around and fighting for fun.


Did you live in a large city stateside? Gdansk is a pretty big city, also, it's a port city - that alone is something worth considering. Same as in lower Silesia you'll find a lot of hardened mine and ex mine workers, jaded and bitter with the way things are going. It's really a matter of objectivity. Shake's right, you arrived at a rather "delicate" time, this sort of crime doesn't happen often here. It's not the norm by any standard.
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Rusty77



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: violence in Poland Reply with quote

Having lived in Poland for several years, I'd like to share a few of my thoughts on this topic, based on my experience and also on some reading: Let's look at a few stats, which in this case are cross referenced from three sources:

A) Rate of Gun Violence and specifically, firearms Homicide Rate (since ecocks mentioned this, I believe): Poland ranks between 19th and 29th in amongst the data sources, well below (well less violent) than the United States in each case. Average rate was about 0.5 per 100,000 people. The U.S. comes in 8th (at about 3.5 per 100,000) people. Poland is even less violent, in this category, than many Western European countries). If the category is expanded to more general "overall homicide rate" Poland fares slightly worse, but it's still well below the rate of the U.S.

B) Assault victims and total crimes. Poland gets worse marks in these categories, but still it's doing better than the U.S. (and even than Canada in the assault category), rating between 9th and 16th in three sources, with about 1% of people having reported being victims of assault (comparable to the U.S.)

It think that some data-gathering stats are subject to verifiability because of such things as frequency of reporting (so perhaps, for instance, people in Poland tend not to report some crimes, such as assault, as frequently, my suspicion). However, with homicides it's pretty cut and dried, I think.
I'm certainly not being an apologist for Poland's "aggressive" or violent troubles. I know that they exist. However, the evidence shows that statistically you're much less likely to be murdered here than in Chicago, Houston, L.A., or even in Toronto.
Is it possible that perception of safety can be inflated or deflated based on many subtle and not-so-subtle things such as personal experiences, observations, cultural stereotypes, etc. ? Sure! I've had to be careful with this one, myself: after getting into 2 skirmishes in my first two years here with other men who objected to me accidentally bumping their shoulder on crowded streets (talking it over wasn't an option in their viewpoint, I don't think), and feeling certain that Poland was populated by bonehead, neandrathal-like, and truly childish men looking to pick fights with foreigners, at times I trodded around half-expecting to be accosted in certain situations. However, the reality was probably more that I had to learn how to avoid trouble, that is, how to anticipate when it might occur and practise the same techniques that I used on mentally / intellectually-disabled persons in my job as a counsellor in Canada! Instead of letting my pride be wounded and trying to fight the guy. Even if I felt he was being an A-hole.
The bottom line is, some aspects of behaviour here are irrational in comparison to Canada and the United States and you have to learn how to adapt to that. I'm still learning. For example, I think that people, on average, in Poland, are less likely to approach a conflict with a conciliatory spirit; they tend to see admitting any fault as a sign of weakness. The result of this, I've found, is that if you offer an olive branch here it's far less likely to be accepted and/or returned than it is in North America. This does not help to resolve conflict. Can I prove this? Probably not, but many other foreigners here who I've spoke with about this concurred with me.
It's a bit of a loaded issue...(no pun intended)...and I think that there are many socio-cultural/historically-based factors that enter into the fray here. But I think it's important to try to be as objective as possible, so that we can at least take some comfort in the fact that in Poland we're living in a relatively safe society--from the perspective of violent crime.
Road safety is another issue altogether!
In the mean time, I'll still be careful not to bump shoulders with any large men walking (especially when they're with their girlfriends).
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infinite wrote:
ecocks wrote:


There is that but its more based upon that in the 4+ years overseas I have met more people who have had assaults, muggings and robberies than in the previous 40 back home. And that counts university and military environments plus a year working in a medium-sized bar but not childhood or buddies goofing around and fighting for fun.


Did you live in a large city stateside? Gdansk is a pretty big city, also, it's a port city - that alone is something worth considering. Same as in lower Silesia you'll find a lot of hardened mine and ex mine workers, jaded and bitter with the way things are going. It's really a matter of objectivity. Shake's right, you arrived at a rather "delicate" time, this sort of crime doesn't happen often here. It's not the norm by any standard.


I've lived Atlanta (worked downtown - real downtown in public heath), Denver, Irvine/Anaheim/LA, Seattle, Memphis and New Orleans.

You can spin whatever facts and stats you wish, but the simplest fact is in the statement above this post.

"...after getting into 2 skirmishes in my first two years.."

I plainly said it before but will say it again, I hear this all the time OVER HERE. The forums, this one included, all have the tales of these fights, police accosting people, road rage, muggings, break-ins, implied physical threats from employers over contracts, the list is long and grows every time I meet a new expat.

Forget the gun stats crap because I know literally dozens of people on a first name basis who routinely carry firearms EVERY day and the only person I know first-hand who managed to get shot is an Aussie guy in Kyiv. My home in the states had a couple of dozen firearms and my best friend since HS had almost 80 before I stored mine at his home. NEVER has there been a homicide closer than the one in Gdansk.

Now, possibly it's that expats are prone to this sort of thing. Maybe they attract it due to cultural ignorance or having personality disorders involving drinking habits, chasing women they shouldn't, spilling drinks, obnoxious opinions, poor anger management technique or whatever. Then again, one of my students told me that he carried a switchblade for several years and described that he built a zip gun back in the 90's after seeing it in an American movie.

So, it returns to the simple statement that I see Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe as more violent than back home. Maybe if I had ever lived in a ghetto or been a member of a street gang myself it would be different but, it wasn't. This impression is based on all the accounts of the fights, the break-ins, dead bodies outside the window, etc. from people with the same vocation, living in the same housing areas I do.

You may have grown up somewhere different or you may believe that because of some statistic you read or stories you heard that other places are different. Maybe it really is safer than YOUR home but not the world I came from.

It's that simple.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with your argument ecocks, is that you're trying to extrapolate your experiences as if they are the reality for most people in Poland/USA, which they clearly are not.

Your experiences obviously tell us about your perceptions of crime in Poland/USA, which is fine, but they do not offer us much about the reality of crime in these countries.

No matter how hard you try or how many horror stories you have to tell, anecdotal evidence is never going to be a better indicator of crime than cold hard statistics (presuming they're reliable of course).
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am absolutely committed to the fact that anecdotal information is illustrative rather than conclusive. In this instance TO ME it illustrates that this place is not as safe for an evening walk as where I lived before coming back overseas.

Stats are great (when accurate) but when you get up and drive to work and there are cars off the side of the road, upside down in the median and spinning around in circles on the ice, it's prudent to slow down no matter what the National Transportation Safety Board says about the very low chance of you being involved in a car wreck.

My advice, remains, "watch your back and stay aware".
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