The 17 most unsafe cities in Europe

Relationship with other countries, internal stability, crime and law enforcement

A decent quality of life
Personal safety is one of the key components for living somewhere with a decent quality of life.

And every year Mercer, one of the world's largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index, which also shows where are the safest cities in the world to live and work.

The ranking is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and is carried out annually to help multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments, according to Mercer.

Mercer says that the personal safety ranking is based the cities' "relationship with other countries, internal stability, crime and law enforcement." In other words, it comes as no surprise that war-torn cities or those rife with crime rank the lowest.

Mercer looked at 450 cities across the globe and then made a list of 230 countries that are the safest for workers. While a whole host of European cities top the list for being safest in the world, there are some that surprisingly rank very low in the index.

Business Insider took at the bottom of the list in order to find the 17 most unsafe cities in Europe.

17. Milan, Italy — The city slipped in the ranking to 63 this year after the FBI warned that St. Peter's Basilica, the Doumo and La Scala were under threat of a terrorist attack.

A girl (bottom C) holds a placard during a protest called "Not in my name" of Italian muslims against terrorism, in downtown Milan, Italy, November 21, 2015. The placard read: "I say no to violence".

16 (joint). Barcelona, Spain — The city is known for being one of the pickpocket capitals of the world, pushing it into rank 64 on the personal safety index. The British foreign office says under the safety and security section (crime) "there has been an increase in the number of thefts from hire cars; remove all valuables or store items out of sight."

16 (joint). Belfast, Northern Ireland — The city is ranked at 64 and has a relatively low violent crime rate compared to other towns and cities in Northern Ireland. However, the proportion of people living in poverty is the highest in Belfast which rocks social stability and increases petty crime.

Anti-government graffiti is sprayed on a wall in the nationalist Lenadoon area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 16, 2015.

14 (joint). Tallinn, Estonia — The picturesque walled city has relatively low violent crime but ranked 66 in the list because of drug and human trafficking from organised Russian syndicates.

View of Estonia's capital Tallinn July 13, 2010.

14 (joint). Warsaw, Poland —The city has one of the lowest crime rates in the country but ranked 66 due to the number of political protests being held in Poland.

Protesters light flares and shout slogans during an anti-immigrant rally in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland February 6, 2016.

12. Paris, France — The city ranked at 71 following two years of terrorist attacks. In November last year, France's capital suicide bombers and shooters attacked several areas, including cafés, restaurants and a music venue, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds of others.

11. London, UK — It may be a surprise to see London in the list but Mercer ranked Britain's capital at 72. Ellyn Karetnick, Head of Mercer’s International Mobility Practice in the UK said that “in Europe and beyond terrorist attacks and incidences of civil unrest are closely monitored and analysed, and any impact on quality of living for expatriates is reflected in the rankings.”

An anti-war protester cries after the British parliament voted in favour of air strikes against militants in Syria, during a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 2, 2015.

10. Bucharest, Romania — Violent and organised crime is quite low in Romania's capital but ranked 79 because of widespread corruption and petty crime.

A banner reading "Corruption kills" is placed among candles, lit in memoriam of more than 50 people killed when a fire erupted during a rock concert in a night club in Bucharest, at a memorial in Timisoara, Romania in this November 1, 2015 picture.

9. Zagreb, Croatia —Like Zagreb's other major Eastern European counterparts, corruption drags the city down to 79.

Bad Blue Boys, supporters of Dinamo Zagreb soccer club, walk during the protest near the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport building in Zagreb, Croatia, November 27, 2015.

8 (joint). Riga, Latvia —Apart from anti-immigration protests starting to dominate the streets, Riga is ranked 82 on the index for its thriving organised crime and prostitution syndicates.

People hold placards and Latvian flags as they participate in an anti-immigration rally against EU refugee quota for Latvia in Riga, Latvia, September 22, 2015.

8 (joint). Rome, Italy — The city dropped to 82 after Rome, and other Italian cities, were put on high alert for terrorist attacks similar to the Paris shootings in November last year.

Policemen patrol at the main railway station in Rome, Italy, January 25, 2016.

6. Madrid, Spain — The city ranked 84 in Mercer's list for its social unrest resulting from countrywide austerity measures which led to massive unemployment levels, especially among its youth population.

5. Budapest, Hungary — The city dropped to 93 in the index after a massive increase in social unrest in the city following the refugee crisis. Chaos at train stations and protests in the streets have erupted several times as Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has tried to curb the flow of migrants in and through the country.

Migrants form a sit-down demonstration as police block the entrance to the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest

4. Sofia, Bulgaria — A high level of social unrest has pushed the city into 118. People in Bulgaria, which is the European Union's poorest member, continually protest against the government over benefit and pension cuts as well as against corruption.

Supporters of Bulgaria's nationalist Attack party hold pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest supporting Russia in front of the Turkish embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 26, 2015. The texts read in Bulgarian: "We don't forget! We will revenge" (topR) and "My friend who we will revenge".

3. Athens, Greece — After extensive and prolonged austerity measures, poverty and crime has increased giving Athens a ranking of 124. Furthermore, "the recent political and economic turmoil in Greece, which resulted in violent demonstrations in Athens and other cities in the country, has undermined its safety ranking," says Mercer. The influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants is also exacerbating the city's safety position.

Refugees and migrants wait to take a bus that will take them to the Greek-Macedonian border, following their arrival aboard the Ariadne passenger ship at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, February 19, 2016.

2. Belgrade, Serbia — Violent crimes are low in the city but Belgrade sinks to 131 in the index for its widescale corruption and bribery issues as well as from theft and vandalism.

Lightning strikes over buildings during a thunderstorm in Belgrade.

1. Kiev, Ukraine — The country's capital ranks at 189 due to continual civil unrest and its pugilistic relationship with Russia. Although the UK foreign office says Kiev is "calm" compared to the now Russia annexed region of Crimea, Kiev is rife with theft, vandalism and violent protests that have killed or injured hundreds of people.

Activists of the Svoboda (Freedom) Ukrainian nationalist party hold torches as they take part in a rally to mark the 107th birth anniversary of Stepan Bandera, one of the founders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).


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