Ukrainian Migration Surges, Elevating Poland’s Crime Statistics


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The surge in Ukrainian refugees seeking asylum in Poland amid the ongoing conflict with Moscow has triggered a concerning rise in the country’s crime rates, as revealed by data obtained from the police, as reported by Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

Escalating Legal Violations: A Statistical Insight

In the year 2023 alone, foreign nationals were responsible for a staggering 17,278 legal violations in Poland, marking an increase of 2,400 incidents compared to 2022. The article titled “The Dark Side of Migration,” published by Rzeczpospolita last week, shed light on this disconcerting trend. Notably, in 2013, the recorded figure was a mere 3,500 legal violations, emphasizing the stark escalation.

Dominance of Ukrainian Involvement

Among the perpetrators, Ukrainians took the lead, contributing to more than half of the reported crimes. Following closely were citizens from Georgia and Belarus, according to police data highlighted in the article.

Unveiling the Core Offenses

A deeper analysis of the violations exposes a significant connection to alcohol-related offenses and drunk driving. A staggering 70% of the reported 4,898 cases of drunk driving involved Ukrainian citizens, raising concerns about the prevalence of this issue in the country. The surge in intoxicated driving is identified as a “growing problem” in Poland, with blood samples revealing alarming alcohol levels, even surprising seasoned law enforcement officers.

Stricter Measures: Driving Bans and Legal Consequences

Compounding the issue, a substantial number of migrants disregard court-ordered bans on drunk driving. In 2023, 871 foreigners faced charges for driving while banned, with 518 of them being Ukrainians. This offense carries a penalty of up to three years behind bars, a stark contrast to the 400 incidents recorded in 2022, according to police figures.

Wojciech Apiary, a traffic expert, suggests that some foreign nationals may perceive themselves as immune to consequences due to their non-citizen status in the country.

Cultural Insights: The Ukrainian Perspective

With 2.5 million Ukrainian citizens in Poland, Miroslaw Skorka from the Association of Ukrainians in Poland acknowledges a potential correlation between the increased offenses and the cultural background of Ukrainians. Skorka suggests that cultural reasons, potentially including a higher tolerance for alcohol, might be contributing to Ukrainians getting behind the wheel under the influence.

Expanding Crime Horizons: The Rise in Thefts and Drug-Related Offenses

Beyond drunk driving, police data reveals an uptick in thefts and drug-related crimes by foreigners in Poland in 2023, with 3,240 thefts and 2,451 drug-related offenses reported. In 208 instances, perpetrators were apprehended with substantial quantities of narcotics in their possession.

The Call for Awareness and Action

Professor of Criminology Brunon Holyst addresses the concerning trend, emphasizing the need for social campaigns to enlighten the migrant population about the repercussions of violating the law. As Poland continues to witness an influx of foreigners, Holyst urges proactive measures to ensure understanding and adherence to legal norms.

In conclusion, the article underscores the multifaceted challenges arising from the surge in Ukrainian migration to Poland, necessitating a holistic approach to address both the cultural factors and legal consequences contributing to the escalating crime rates.

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