Is Norway a Safe Place to live and visit? Here’s What You Need to Know

Norway ranks high when it comes to happiness and democracy and low in terms of poverty and corruption. But is Norway safe?

Norway also ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. It ranks at the top when it comes to the global peace index and has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, making it perfectly safe to visit or relocate to.

In this article, we will take a look at crime in Norway and some of the statistics to support that Norway is in fact one of the safest countries in the world.

How safe is Norway?

Overall, Norway is considered a very safe country, both in terms of crime levels and stability.

This is evidenced by its ranking on the global peace index. This index ranks countries based on a number of factors. 

These range from the number of internal/external conflicts, relations with neighboring countries, level of violent crimes, and homicide levels to the number of police officers per 100 000 and military spending as a percentage of GDP.

According to vision of humanity, Norway ranked 4th out of 161 countries on the global peace index. The only countries to rank higher were New Zealand, Iceland, and Denmark.

The fact that Norway is a safe country is also supported by the statistics looking at crime levels. 

While Norway only ranks in the middle among European countries in terms of the crime index, it has one of the lowest murder rates per 100 000 in Europe and the world.

The most common type of crime in Norway

According to the Norwegian bureau of statistics, there was a total of 300 636 reported criminal offenses in Norway in 2020. 

There has been a substantial decrease over the last decade when the number was close to 400 000. These numbers include everything from violent crimes and theft to minor traffic offenses.

Theft is by far the most common criminal offense, comprising almost 29% of the total. Traffic offenses are the second most common criminal offense, making up about 15% of the total.

This is followed closely by drug-related offenses (13%), disturbance of order (10%), and economic offenses such as money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement (9%).

Violent crime in Norway

Rates for violent crimes in Norway are low. Out of the 300 636, violent crimes accounted for about 12% of the total. 

Rape and sexual conduct rates are also low, coming in at 6873 cases which is just over 2% of the total number of cases.

As mentioned, Norway has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world. According to, Norway’s homicide level per 100 000 inhabitants comes in at 0.5. This is one of the lowest in the world.

Gun violence in Norway

Despite ranking relatively high in terms of the number of guns per inhabitant, gun violence is rare in Norway.

The vast majority of gun owners have weapons intended for hunting (primarily non-military grade rifles and shotguns), or competitive shooting.

While there are no official statistics for gun violence in Norway, there are statistics on the use of guns as weapons in homicides.

The majority of homicides in Norway are carried out with knives. In fact, over the last 10 years, there have only been 28 homicide cases that involved the use of a gun.

The use of firearms by Norwegian police is also rare. Norwegian police officers are one of the few police forces in the world that do not carry weapons during daily uniformed service. 

That being said, they have firearms stored in their patrol vehicles. Despite this, they are rarely used. 

According to the Norwegian police, there were 9936 responses in 2019 in which the police decided to arm themselves, however, they only threatened to use them in 85 responses and were only drawn 13 times.

Out of those 13 cases, shots were fired in a total of 3 responses, killing one person.

The safest city in Norway

Given that the overall crime rates are low throughout Norway, no particular city stands out as the safest in Norway.

However, according to a survey asking the public across various Norwegian cities about their subjective opinion of feeling safe, inhabitants of Tromsø in northern Norway scored the highest among Norwegian cities.

The city with the most crime in Norway

According to the Norwegian bureau of statistics, Oslo has the highest number of reported crimes of any city in Norway, and the highest number of reported crimes per 1000 inhabitants.

Despite this, Oslo is considered a safe city and can not be considered dangerous.

In a survey by Numbeo looking at the crime index across 164 European cities, the Norwegian cities of Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Kristiansand are included. 

This survey showed that Kristiansand had the highest crime index, followed by Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim.

  • Kristiansand: 44
  • Oslo: 34
  • Bergen: 28
  • Stavanger: 24
  • Trondheim: 20

That being said, Kristiansand is also considered safe, and despite its higher crime index, it only ranked number 58 out of the 164 cities included.


At the end of the day, Norway is a very safe country as evidenced by the statistics.

That is not t say that there is no crime in Norway, but you should have no reservations when it comes to visiting or relocating to Norway due to safety concerns.


Global Peace index –

Murder rate by country –

Europe: Current crime index by city – Numbeo

Offenses and victims reported to the police – Norwegian bureau of statistics

Crime and Justice – Norwegian bureau of statistics

Nasjonal drapsoversikt 2020 – Polities (Norwegian police)

Photo of author


Erik is the creator and editor of Planet Norway. Born in Trondheim and currently living in Oslo, Erik knows the ins and outs of Norwegian History, society, and culture. His idea for starting planet Norway came about when helping his foreign fiance to settle in Norway.