HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador, Venezuela Feel Less Safe Than War-torn Syria: Gallup
BRIEF

El Salvador, Venezuela Feel Less Safe Than War-torn Syria: Gallup

EL SALVADOR / 1 AUG 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

A new Gallup poll shows people in El Salvador and Venezuela feel less safe than in Syria and a host of other conflict-ridden nations, providing a global context for the severity of the security problem in these countries and throughout Latin America.

Gallup's 2016 Global Law and Order Report paints a grim picture of security perceptions in Latin America. Venezuela and El Salvador ranked as the worst and second-to-worst worldwide with scores of 35 and 48, respectively. Peru tied with Syria for third worst with a score of 50, and Bolivia came in next at 51.

The poll graded 133 countries on a 100-point scale based on responses to three questions related to security and trust in local police forces. 

Venezuela received the lowest score of any country in the world since 2005, according to Gallup. Just 14 percent of Venezuelans said they feel safe walking alone at night; Syria and Afghanistan were the next-to-lowest with 32 percent each. Six of the bottom 10 countries worldwide for feeling safe at night were in Latin America or the Caribbean, while Nordic countries occupied many of the top spots. (See Gallup graph below)

16-08-01-LatAm-World-Safe

As a region, Latin America and the Caribbean was perceived as less safe overall than any other in the world for the seventh year in a row. (See Gallup graph below) 

16-08-01-LatAm-Gallup

No country in Latin America or the Caribbean scored above the global average of 72. (See Gallup graph below) Chile and Nicaragua ranked the highest, both receiving scores of 65. Paraguay, meanwhile, saw the biggest change in security perceptions between 2014 and 2015, jumping from 46 to 60. Gallup noted that it surveyed Paraguayans shortly after Pope Francis's visit to the country in July 2015.

16-08-01-LatAm-Security-Poll

InSight Crime Analysis

These are disturbing but not altogether surprising results. Venezuela's low ranking reflects that country's descent into a worsening economic and security crisis, while El Salvador likely became the most homicidal country in the world last year with a murder rate of over 100 per 100,000 residents. That citizens of these countries feel more vulnerable to violence than those scarred by years of intense warfare like Syria and Afghanistan lends some credence to claims that the region's crime-driven conflicts should be considered a humanitarian crisis

Nor is it startling that Latin America and the Caribbean scored the worst among the world's regions. The Latin America and the Caribbean region is the most violent in the world, and many countries have murder rates above 10 per 100,000, the threshold for what the World Health Organization qualifies as an "epidemic."

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Homicides

Perceptions of insecurity do not always match reality, however. Peru and Bolivia's poor scores are consistent with a 2014 security perceptions index released by the Latin American Public Opinion Project, but these Andean nations are generally regarded as some of the safest in Latin America. Last year, Bolivia and Peru registered murder rates of 5 per 100,000 and 7 per 100,000, respectively, among the lowest in the entire region. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 24 APR 2013

Murders "unrelated" to drug trafficking went up in the first four months of the current  administration, according to Mexican government…

EL SALVADOR / 22 MAY 2013

The wife of a jailed MS-13 gang leader in El Salvador was arrested on extortion charges, which, if legitimate, could…

CARTEL DE LOS SOLES / 8 JAN 2013

The rumors of President Hugo Chavez's imminent death, and the jostling for position among his possible successors, are creating conditions…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…