True Lithuania

Is Lithuania very dangerous?

Lithuania is, statistically, at least as safe crime-wise as the USA is. One difference is that in Lithuania there are no safe or unsafe districts, with the crime being evenly spread. Therefore, one doesn't have to worry about staying in a bad district. However, at the same time, none of the districts are safe enough to leave a car with valuables on the open inside, for example (but, with increasing migration of criminals to the West, the same can also be said about the Western societies).

Aside from criminal dangers, Lithuania has much fewer dangers than most Western countries. There was never a deadly terrorist attack in the entire Lithuanian history, for instance. Lithuania also lacks any natural calamities: earthquakes, tornadoes, strong hurricanes, and volcanos do not happen there. While some people from outside the region fear to visit Lithuania due to the perception that Central/Eastern Europe is under a perennial war threat, in fact, the last act of war on Lithuania happened on 1991.

Why some foreigners believe the myth that Lithuania is very dangerous?

The lack of knowledge about the Eastern/Central Europe, the association of it with political strife that happened there during the lifetimes of most people and still happens in some places (e.g. Ukraine) makes some Westerners subconsciously believe the entire region is unsafe. However, each country should be evaluated individually for the situation there nowadays.

The fact that there are criminals from Central/Eastern Europe who emigrated to the West may also contribute to the misconception. After the Central/Eastern European countries joined the European Union and the borders were opened, the emigration was massive and possibly a disproportionate number of emigrants were criminals as, for criminals, richer Western countries provided far greater criminal-earnings opportunities, no notoriety-in-Lithuania effects, better prison conditions and more. Such "exodus of criminals" likely made Lithuania even safer (crime rates decreased significantly since independence), although at the same time it strengthened the myth of unsafe Lithuania.

Is the "Dangerous Lithuania" myth insulting to Lithuanians and why?

This myth is more inconvenient than insulting: Lithuanians want foreigners to visit their country and invest there; such myths harm those possibilities.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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