Is Naples Italy Safe? Numbers Mean More than Opinions

If you’re planning a trip to Italy and you’re wondering if Naples is safe, keep reading. I’ll share my own experiences as well as some data so you can be more informed before you visit the birthplace of pizza.

Photo of Alleyway in naples

Jump to section:

  1. Background
  2. The Data – Naples vs. other Italian cities
  3. Naples vs. the USA
  4. Personal Experience
  5. The Takeaway

Background – Why Naples?

I absolutely love Naples (aka Napoli). It’s in my top 5 favorite Italian cities (there’s 10 cities in my top 5, let’s be honest). The city itself is beautiful, chaotic, and full of life. Not to mention, the food is incredible and the people are warm and welcoming.

Some Italians will read that last phrase and laugh.

Opinions about Naples vary widely, with some loving it and others not so much. The city often carries a reputation for crime and corruption, a belief held not only by Italians but also by foreigners who adopt stereotypes from within Italy. This stereotype does have some truth behind it, owing to historical factors such as high poverty levels, biased government policies favoring northern development, and limited job opportunities. Add a few shady characters into the mix, and you have a recipe for a questionable reputation.

A Day in Naples - Artisan shop

Unfortunately, this negative perception isn’t limited to Naples alone; it often extends to all of southern Italy. Certain politicians (who shall remain unnamed) have even labeled the South as a “parasite” on the North, except when they needed Southern votes – then the narrative changed. But let’s not get sidetracked.

Planning a trip to Italy? Check out my resources page to see all the sites I recommend for booking trains, rooms, tours, and more.

Crime in Naples – the data

Opinions and anecdotes are one thing – but let’s look at the data. First, we’ll look at Naples compared to other Italian cities, then Naples compared to US cities.

I know, I know – there is only data on what was reported. It’s possible that people are pickpocketed and don’t bother reporting it. I’m also aware that “robbery”, “theft”, “murder” etc. are legal terms which might have different definitions internationally. This is the data we have to work with.

Naples vs. Other Italian Cities

In 2021, Statista provides some useful datasets pulled from official databases, so that’s what we’ll look at first. Note: an Italian “province” is kind of like a county in the United States. Except where noted, all data is number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Does Naples have the most Crime in Italy?

Speaking of general crime – with Milan and Bologna at spots 1 and 2, Rome at number 7, Naples comes in at the 14th spot. Even Modena, the setting for Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, has a higher crime rate than Naples.

Statistic: Leading provinces for crime rate in Italy in 2020 (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants) | Statista


Does Naples have the most theft in Italy?

For theft specifically (items disappearing), Naples came in the 9th spot, behind Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice. 

Statistic: Leading provinces for theft rate in Italy in 2020 (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants) | Statista

Additional Data

For rates of residential burglary (home break-ins), Naples doesn’t even make the top 10, while Bologna, Pisa, and Venice do. Yes, our quaint, beloved Pisa with it’s leaning tower (and not much else) has more reported home break-ins (source).

For robberies – where items disappear with force or a threat – here’s where Naples takes the number 1 spot. Coming in second is Prato, just outside of Florence, and Milan in third (source).

For car theft – Naples comes in at number 2, behind Barletta-Andria-Trani (in Puglia) at number 1 (source).

For extortion – in case you planned on opening a business while on your vacation in Naples, Italy, you should know it takes the number 6 spot, behind Foggia at number 1. In general, southern Italy has higher rates of extortion, though northern cities like Bologna and Trieste did make the top 10 (source).

Naples Compared to the US

OK – comparing crime in Naples to other Italian cities is one thing, but what about compared to cities in the US?

I complied some data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics as well as the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Starting from the left of each graph, I compared Naples, Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence with several US cities. For each metric, I put a dashed line showing the country-wide rate for the USA. Again – all numbers are per 100,000 people.

Cases of Murder

You are more likely to get murdered on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina than just about anywhere in Italy, including Naples. Murder rate per 100,000 people in Naples 0.7, Hilton Head 5.9.

Graph showing rates of murder in US vs Italy

Cases of Robbery

As mentioned before, Naples takes the #1 spot for robbery in Italy. Internationally, it’s about on par with Miami, Florida. Robbery rate per 100,000 people in Naples 126.5, Miami 114.

Graph showing rates of robbery in US vs Italy

Cases of Rape

The rate of rape cases in Naples per 100,000 people was 5.6, compared to Chattanooga, Tennessee at 42.8.

Graph showing rates of Rape in US vs Italy

In Sum

As it is relevant to tourists – compared to the rest of Italy, yes – the rates of robbery tend to be higher in Naples, but on almost all other relevant metrics it’s lower risk than most other parts of Italy.

Compared to the US, the rates of robbery in Naples are about on par with that of a major US city. In terms of severe violence (murder and rape) Naples looks like a McDonald’s PlayPlace compared to what are generally considered safe cities in the US

What about My experience?

After living in Italy and traveling to all 20 Italian regions, I’ve gathered some personal perspective of Naples with respect to the rest of Italy. 

After having been 4 or 5 times, I have not personally had any bad experiences related to crime or safety in Naples. I maybe didn’t feel as secure while out at night in certain parts of the city (especially near the central train station), but nothing happened.

I have also talked to several other travelers (families, groups, solo travelers, solo females) who all shared positive experiences in Naples. I brought my father and aunt there for a day trip and they absolutely loved it.

The Takeaway

So is Naples, Italy safe? Relative to somewhere like the United States, yes.

Don’t let opinions of others or stereotypes dissuade you from going to Naples. Personally, I think you’ll truly be missing out. 

If you’re traveling to Naples, Italy, use common sense like you would in any major city. Be aware of your surroundings in crowded areas, and don’t walk around with unnecessary valuables. Learn from my mistakes by reading this pickpocketing story from Rome

If you are aware of this ahead of time and use common sense, you’ll be fine and will hopefully love Naples for its character, beauty, cheap yet amazing food, and language (distinct from Italian). After you go, comment below and let me know where you had pizza.

Planning a trip to Naples? Check out my Naples Recommendations!
Napoli Lungomare - a day in Naples
View from Napoli Lungomare

That’s All for Now

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed or got value out of reading this. Please check out some of my other content like some of my recommendations pages. Additionally, if you’re planning a trip to Italy and need one-on-one support or guidance, check out my services page where you can get in touch with me.

Disclaimer: The data provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as the sole factor when making travel decisions. Any analysis presented here has not been peer-reviewed or endorsed by any official authority. Travel safety can change over time, and it is essential to stay informed about the current conditions in your destination. We recommend checking with your state or country’s official travel websites and resources for the most up-to-date and accurate information on travel safety notices and recommendations for your chosen destination.

4 thoughts on “Is Naples Italy Safe? Numbers Mean More than Opinions”

  1. You really do your homework, plus have had the experience of traveling to Naples firsthand. Wish I could taste the great pizza from Naples you’ve raved about often. Great article, Anthony!

  2. Being a numbers nerd, I really enjoyed your article. Thanks for reassuring me about my trip to Naples. I spent 42 years traveling around the world as a merchant mariner, and the only place I was ever really afraid was Oakland California. I now live in Mexico, and spend a month each year trying to fill in the places my ships never took me. I will be in Italy for a month, so I am going to keep reading your stuff. Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *