HomeNewsBriefLatin America Citizens Say They Feel Least Safe for Ninth Year Running
BRIEF

Latin America Citizens Say They Feel Least Safe for Ninth Year Running

EL SALVADOR / 8 JUN 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

For nearly a decade straight, citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean responding to an annual survey have consistently said that they feel less safe than their counterparts in any other region of the world, underscoring the complexity of the region's security situation and the challenges faced in trying to improve it.

The Gallup polling organization’s 2018 Global Law and Order report found that respondents from Latin America and the Caribbean were the least likely of any group in the world to feel secure in their communities.

According to the report, the region’s “law and order index” score of 62 was the lowest in the world and slightly worse than what the region scored the year before. Five of the 10 countries where residents were least likely to feel safe were in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Unsurprisingly, Venezuela was again ranked as the least secure country in the world, tied with war-torn Afghanistan. InSight Crime argued the Andean nation could be considered a "mafia state" in a recent investigation looking into the exponential growth of organized crime there.

Mexico and the Dominican Republic were also among the world’s least secure nations. No country in Latin America and the Caribbean was among the world's top 50 most secure nations, according to the report.

Moreover, the report also found that just 42 percent of respondents in Latin America and the Caribbean have confidence in their local police forces, the lowest level of any region in the world. Venezuelans and Mexicans were the least likely to have confidence in their local police.

(Graphic courtesy of Gallup)

However, some countries in the region did show an improvement from last year’s rankings. For example, the report found that El Salvador’s score of 67 was a “marked improvement” from last year and that a declining murder rate in recent years reflects the country’s “slowly improving security situation.”

The report was based on the responses of around 1,000 adults from more than 140 countries to questions regarding their level of confidence in local police and whether or not they feel safe walking around their city, among others.

InSight Crime Analysis

Measuring insecurity is often a complex process, but the responses to basic questions about perceptions of security that respondents provided offer a simple barometer of security conditions that says a lot about the complexity of the region’s overall security situation.

There has been seeming progress in some key countries in recent years. Colombia signed a 2016 peace deal putting a formal end to a decades-long internal conflict. And murder rates in two of the most violence-wracked nations in the region, Honduras and El Salvador, have been falling.

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Homicides

But in general, residents of Latin America and the Caribbean still consistently feel less safe than their international counterparts, suggesting that deep issues driving insecurity in many cases remain unaddressed.

For example, El Salvador’s declining murder rate may be more a result of a growing sophistication among the country’s gangs and adjustments made to their criminal activities in response to extraordinary anti-gang measures utilized by the government in recent years. It's possible that these and other factors -- including abusive police tactics and vigilantism -- are contributing to insecurity and the country's low law and order score even as the murder rate declines.

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

CACHIROS / 31 MAR 2021

A judge in the United States sentenced the brother of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to life in prison for…

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

One of the ELN's most infamous leader, alias Pablito, has been crucial in helping the Colombian guerrilla group move its…

COLOMBIA / 4 AUG 2022

A local gang targeted bus drivers in Barranquilla, Colombia, to gain attention ahead of the country's change in government.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…