For the eighth year in a row, an annual report from Gallup has ranked Latin America as the least secure region in the world.
Gallup's 2017 "Global Law and Order Report" ranks 135 countries from which a total of 136,000 individuals were asked during 2016 to respond to four questions about perceptions of insecurity. These four questions concerned the level of confidence in law enforcement and the feeling of safety when out alone at night, as well as whether the respondents had been victim of robbery.
Latin America and the Caribbean scored a 64 on Gallup's Law and Order Index -- unchanged from its 2015 score. Residents of the U.S. and Canada, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Western Europe are the most likely to feel secure, with index scores of 84 or higher.
Venezuela's score on the Index --was 42 out of 100, the lowest in the world last year.
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 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 two of that region's more economically developed countries, South Africa (37%) and Botswana (38%).
At the same time, 38% of Venezuelans said they had had property or money stolen in the past year. This is up more than 10 percentage points from the previous year and a new record high for the country. Only five countries -- all in sub-Saharan Africa -- had higher percentages than Venezuela in 2016.
Venezuela is also among the 14 countries worldwide in which at least 15% of residents say they have been assaulted or mugged in the past year -- the new question included in the index in 2016. All but one of the 14 are in sub-Saharan Africa; the lone exception is Venezuela, where 22% say they have been assaulted or mugged in the past year. In a handful of these countries in sub-Saharan Africa, about one in four say they have been assaulted or mugged in the past year.
At the regional level, the Index scores have remained relatively stable since 2015, changing no more than three points in any of the global regions.
Gallup Law and Order Index Across Global Regions, out of 100 points.
- U.S. and Canada, 86
- Southeast Asia, 85
- East Asia, 84
- Western Europe, 84
- Middle East and North Africa, 82
- Eastern Europe, 80
- South Asia, 78
- Commonwealth of Independent States, 76
- Sub-Sahara Africa, 68
- Latin America and the Caribbean, 64