South Africa among the worst countries in the world for law and order

Gallup’s Law and Order Index – an annual global gauge of how secure people feel – shows Venezuela to be the least secure country out of 135 globally with just 12% feeling it safe to walk alone.

The index is based on people’s reported confidence in their local police, their feelings of personal safety, the incidence of theft in the past year and – for the first time in 2016 – the incidence of assault and mugging in the past year.

Venezuela has been no stranger to the bottom of the list — it was the lowest-scoring country in 2013 and 2015, and second-lowest in 2014. Singapore has been at the top since 2013.

The index uses four questions to gauge people’s sense of personal security and their personal experiences with crime and law enforcement, and is based on more than 136,000 interviews with adults in 135 countries in 2016:

  • In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force?
  • Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?
  • Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?
  • Within the past 12 months, have you been assaulted or mugged?

Venezuela’s scores on all of the individual questions that make up the current index were worse last year than at any point in the past decade.

Just 12% of Venezuelans in 2016 said they felt safe walking alone at night where they live, and only 14% expressed confidence in their police. These are not only the worst on record for Venezuela, but the worst for any country last year — and for the past 10 years.

To put Venezuela’s 12% who feel safe walking alone at night into perspective, the next-lowest figure in 2016 was more than twice as high as Venezuela: 28% in El Salvador.

Among the 12 countries in which residents are least likely to say they feel safe walking alone at night, five are in Latin America.

Another six are in sub-Saharan Africa – including South Africa (37%) and Botswana (38%).

The South African Police Service are due to publish annual crime statistics next month, September, which could reflect a country struggling economically, and with high rates of unemployment.

Top countries for law and order

# Country Score
1 Singapore 97
2 Uzbekistan 95
3 Iceland 92
4 Turkmenistan 91
5 Norway 91
6 Switzerland 90
7 Algeria 90
8 Finland 90
9 Jordan 89
10 Vietnam 89

Bottom countries for law and order

# Country Score
135 Venezuela 42
134 Liberia 53
133 El Salvador 54
132 South Sudan 56
131 South Africa 58
130 Bolivia 58
129 Gabon 58
128 Dominican Republic 60
127 Mauritania 60
126 Argentina 61

Read: Cape Town is South Africa’s real crime capital

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South Africa among the worst countries in the world for law and order