- Venezuela, Afghanistan least secure in the world
- Singapore ranks as the safest
- Law and Order Index for the world is 81 out of 100
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Venezuela and Afghanistan may be farther away from reaching the United Nations' goal for peaceful, secure societies than any other country in the world, based on their scores on Gallup's Law and Order Index in 2017. The two countries ranked the least secure out of 142 countries on Gallup's annual gauge of how secure people feel.
|Countries With Highest Law and Order Index Scores||Countries With Lowest Law and Order Index Scores|
|Law and Order Index||Law and Order Index|
|Hong Kong||91||South Africa||58|
|Based on Gallup World Polls, 2017|
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. 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.
For complete results for each country, read Gallup's 2018 Global Law and Order report.
Venezuelans Still Lack Sense of Basic Safety
Venezuela's repeat appearance at the bottom of the security list reflects a country still in political and economic chaos: Just 17% of residents said they felt safe walking alone at night where they live, and 24% expressed confidence in their police. Both percentages are up somewhat from the record-lows set in Venezuela in 2016, which were the lowest scores Gallup had measured worldwide since 2005.
At the same time, more Venezuelans (42%) reported having had property or money stolen in the past year -- topping the previous high of 38% set in 2016. In only three countries were residents considerably more likely than Venezuelans to say they had been the victims of theft in the past year: Afghanistan (46%), Uganda (49%) and South Sudan (50%). Nearly one in four residents in Venezuela (23%) said they had been assaulted -- again one of the highest percentages throughout the world that year.
Not much separated Afghans' and Venezuelans' perceptions in 2017. While Afghans were more likely than Venezuelans to have been the victims of theft, Venezuelans were less likely than Afghans to have confidence in their local police and were more likely to have been assaulted.
|Safe walking alone at night||17||20|
|Confidence in local police||24||31|
|Gallup World Poll, 2017|
Venezuelans, Afghans Least Likely to Feel Safe Walking Alone at Night
Monitoring indicators such as these are important, particularly given that the U.N. is targeting "promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies" as its 16th Sustainable Development Goal for the world. In fact, one of the metrics in the index, the proportion of people who feel safe walking alone around the area where they live, is one of the indicators of Goal 16.
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 with residents of embattled Afghanistan, where 20% said they feel safe walking alone at night.
|Least Likely to Feel Safe in 2017||Most Likely to Feel Safe in 2017|
|% Yes, feel safe||% Yes, feel safe|
|Gallup World Polls, 2017|
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%). However, income inequality remains an issue in both.
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 U.S. is considerably farther down the list, at 72%.
While "building a more peaceful and secure world" is one of the themes of Canada's presidency of the G7, the current trade turmoil between the U.S. and several G7 partners may overshadow this and other items on Canada's agenda for the summit that starts Friday.
However, results on Gallup's Law and Order Index, particularly the question about whether people feel safe walking alone at night where they live, show a lot of work remains to be done to achieve this goal, and particularly where it is farthest out of reach, like in Afghanistan and Venezuela.
Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted throughout 2017 in 142 countries and areas. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error ranged from ±2.1 percentage points to ±5.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.