American research company Gallup has released its latest Global Law and Order Index.
The Law and Order Index is a composite score based on people’s reported confidence in their local police, their feelings of personal safety and the incidence of theft and assault or mugging in the past year. As part of the study, more than 148,000 adults were interviewed across 142 countries in 2017.
The higher the score, the higher the proportion of the population that reports feeling secure. The index score for the world in 2017 was 81 out of a possible 100. Eighty-six countries, including Venezuela and Afghanistan, posted scores lower than this average.
The countries scoring the best and the worst on the index remained unchanged from 2016. Scores worldwide ranged from a high of 97 in Singapore to a low of 44 in Venezuela. While Venezuela earned the “least secure” title alone in 2016, in 2017, it shared that designation with war-torn Afghanistan – where the score of 45 hit a record low.
South Africa was also one of the lowest ranking countries (behind Mexico and Botswana, but ahead of Liberia and Venezuela) with an index score of 58.
More than two in every three people worldwide say they have confidence in their local police (69%) and feel safe walking alone at night where they live (68%).
One in eight (13%) say they had property stolen from them or another household member in the past year, and 5% say they were assaulted or mugged.
Just 17% of Venezuelans in 2017 said they feel safe walking alone in their area at night — only slightly higher than the 12% who said so in 2016. This essentially puts Venezuelans on equal footing — perception-wise — with residents of embattled Afghanistan, where 20% said they feel safe walking alone at night.
Among the 10 countries in which residents are least likely to say they feel safe walking alone at night, five are in Latin America. Another four are in sub-Saharan Africa — including two of that region’s more economically developed countries, South Africa (31%) and Botswana (34%).
In most economically developed countries with strong rule of law, high majorities of residents say they feel safe walking alone in their areas at night. This response is nearly universal in Singapore at 94% and tops 80% in many Western European countries. The US is considerably farther down the list, at 72%