Crime and safety

One of the nicest aspects of living in Malta is how safe it feels. While petty crimes do occur, they aren’t common and can usually be avoided by using common sense. Violent crimes are much rarer than in some other European countries and it’s safe to walk the streets pretty much anywhere. People look out for each other here and there’s still a strong feeling of ‘community spirit’ which helps to keep crime rates down.

Probably the greatest risk is pick-pocketing (theft accounts for 50% of all crimes). Tourists tend to be targeted most often (they are relaxed, on holiday, in busy areas and often carrying more cash than the average person). It’s no coincidence that the highest crime rates are recorded in some of the main tourist areas such as St Julian’s, Mdina, Valletta, Floriana, Sliema and St Paul’s Bay. Taking sensible precautions such as keeping a handbag zipped and not leaving it on the floor in busy restaurants should be enough to protect you. You probably don’t want to go leaving your €1000 camera on show in a parked car, but vehicle break-ins are relatively uncommon.

Paceville is the clubbing capital of Malta – the combination of alcohol and crowds does result in more crime here. Violent fights occasionally break out, but no more so than in any other nightlife hotspot. Women should keep an eye on their drinks to avoid spiking, as they would in any other city.

Home robberies have been increasing of late but are still relatively uncommon. Drunk and/or dangerous driving is a large problem; remain alert for the unexpected on the roads.

Overall, the website lists Malta’s crime levels as low for almost every category except ‘corruption and bribery’, which is reported as ‘moderate’.

Useful Information

Emergency number
  • 112 is to be used in cases when urgent assistance from the Police, Civil Protection or an Ambulance is required
Crime stop number
  • 119 is a free phone number which is to be used to give information to the Police to help them solve a crime
Report an offence


What is the legal driving age?

18 years old. Most car hire companies require drivers to be over 23 or even 25.

What should I do in the event of an accident?

If you hit someone from behind or vice versa, you don’t need to call the police – just call a local warden on +356 2132 0202, take photos, and fill in a ‘Front to Rear’ form with the other driver. Each driver should get a copy to give to their insurance company (make sure you keep a copy before you submit it). The warden’s report will also go to the insurance companies. If the accident is not clear cut, call the police on +356 21224001. For serious accidents and injuries, call 112 immediately. Ensure you have the other driver’s name and vehicle registration number.

Can I use my foreign drivers’ licence in Malta?

If your licence is from outside the European Union, you can drive for 12 months from the date of your last entry into Malta. After that, you will need to get a Maltese licence.

If your licence is from the EU, Switzerland or Australia, you can exchange it for a Maltese licence after 185 days. You can drive with an EU licence as long as it remains valid. Read here for more information.

How safe is Malta?

Welcome to one of the safest countries in the world. There aren’t any ‘no-go’ zones and violent crime is rare. Petty crime does exist (especially pickpocketing in tourist centres) but can be avoided with sensible precautions such as keeping your bag zipped and being aware of your personal possessions. The clubbing capital of Paceville can be edgy at times but no more so than any other nightclub zone. Burglaries are reported to be on the rise.

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