In general, Kiev is as safe as most Western European countries. Organized crime does exist, but unless you’re coming to Kiev to open a chain of casinos the mafias are extremely unlikely to take an interest in you. Crimes perpetrated against visitors are generally low level and include pick pocketing and wallet scams.
Acts of mindless drunken violence such as those which commonly occur in British cities are rare. There are, however, increasing reports of racist attacks on those of African and Middle Eastern appearance.
Although the police in Kiev are no angels, they don’t, unlike their counterparts in Moscow, routinely pester foreigners for documents and bribes.
Other Dangers and Annoyances
- During the winter, many of Kiev’s streets and sidewalks resemble ice rinks.
- Prostitution, although often discreet, is common in hotel lobbies and bars.
- Ukraine has one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS rates in Europe. The World Heath Organization estimates that there are 377,000 people in the country living with HIV/AIDS.
- The idea of customer service still hasn’t caught on at many shops, restaurants and hotels.
- Face control is common at upmarket nightclubs and restaurants.
- Ukrainian drivers commonly use the sidewalk as an extra lane.
- Beggars (often babushkas) frequent some tourist attractions and churches (though to be fair its no more common than anywhere else in the world).