Latin America-Caribbean Region at Bottom of Gallup's 'Law and Order Index'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 28, 2016 | 4:30pm EDT
A mural of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Sabaneta, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Fernando Llando)

( - Latin America and the Caribbean--the global region south of the United States--has the lowest “Law and Order Index” among nine regions in the world, according to Gallup’s “2016 Global Law and Order Report.”

With a Gallup Law and Order Index score of 55 (out of a possible 100), Latin America and the Caribbean ranked behind Sub-Saharan Africa (63), the “Post-Soviet states” (66), the Middle East and North Africa (74), South Asia (75) East Asia (77), Europe (77), the U.S. and Canada (78) and Southeast Asia (79).

The index, Gallup says, is based on surveys it conducted in 2015 in 133 countries in which about 1,000 local residents 15 and older were asked three questions.

As a 2014 analysis Gallup posted on its website explains: “The Law and Order Index incorporates three simple ‘Yes/No’ questions that gauge respondents' sense of personal security and the incidence of crime: In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force? Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live? Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?”

An analysis by Julie Ray that Gallup posted on its website this Tuesday (“Security Issues Continue to Trouble Latin America”), pointed out that the responses received from people living in Latin America and the Caribbean have resulted in that region ranking at the bottom of Gallup’s Law and Order Index for years.

“For the seventh year in a row,” says this Gallup analysis, “residents of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015 were the least likely to feel secure in their communities. The region scored a 55 on Gallup's Law and Order Index--unchanged from its score in 2014. Residents of Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Canada, Europe, and East Asia were again the most likely to feel secure, with index scores of 77 or higher.”

In its analysis published this week, Gallup noted that Venezuela set a record for the lowest percentage of people surveyed saying they felt safe walking alone at night in the area where they live.

“The 14% of Venezuelans who said they felt safe walking alone at night may be a new record low,” said the Gallup analysis, “however, the country has ranked at or near the bottom of the ‘feel safe’ list since 2009. But to put Venezuela's spiral into chaos and violence into perspective, the next-lowest percentages in the world in 2015 were in war-torn Afghanistan (32%) and Syria (32%).”

The other seven countries among the ten with the lowest percentages saying they feel safe walking alone at night, as posted in Gallup's analysis, were Gabon (35 percent), El Salvador (36 percent), Dominican Republic (36 percent), Malawi (39 percent) South Africa (40 percent), Peru (40 percent) and Mexico (40 percent).

The ten countries where the largest percentages of people said they did feel safe walking alone at night were Singapore (92 percent), Norway (90 percent), Switzerland (87 percent), Finland (86 percent), Iceland (86 percent), Denmark (85 percent), Armenia (84 percent), Egypt (84 percent), Slovenia (84 percent), and Tajikistan (84 percent).

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