Ten Countries Where People Fear for Their Safety

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Last year, more than two-thirds of all people surveyed said they felt safe walking alone at night, according to a Gallup poll conducted in 134 countries. But in 31 countries, less than half the population felt this way. In Venezuela and South Africa, nearly three out of four people reported feeling unsafe.

Internal conflict and repressive regimes are marked problems in many of countries where citizens feel unsafe. In Afghanistan, which received the worst possible rating from the Economist Intelligence Unit for internal organized conflict, the government continues to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In both Madagascar and Gabon, recent changes in political power have led to tension among opponents.

In Chad, more than 68% of residents do not have confidence in the national government, and 74% of residents said they have no confidence in their military, the lowest percentage measured by Gallup. By comparison, among developed countries at least 53% trust the government.

Some of the nations where residents do not feel safe are among the world’s poorest, including Afghanistan and Madagascar, which were estimated to have among the lowest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of any nations.

Some of the countries where residents feel the least safe, however, have relatively stable governments and enjoy prospering economies. Among these is South Africa, which is one of the world’s largest emerging economies. Additionally, Botswana has been led for decades by a well-functioning, democratically elected government.

Yet, government stability and prosperity do not necessarily ensure residents feel safe. While Botswana is considered to have among the most stable governments in its region, residents are among the most fearful in the world.

According to Steve Crabtree, senior research analyst at Gallup, as nations develop and their economies grow, “some countries experiencing rapid economic development may have ‘growing pains’ in terms of rising income inequality.” These inequalities, and the sense of injustice they often foster, may contribute to rising crime rates and, as a result, fears of crime.

In any country, one of the most meaningful measures of how safe people feel is the way law enforcement officials are perceived. Of the 10 nations where people feel least safe, four also had the lowest ratings of their police forces. In Bolivia and Chad, 66% and 64%, respectively, of those polled disapproved of the local police, the two worst reviews out of the nations measure.

Based on data provided by Gallup, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 countries where people do not feel safe walking alone at night. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided GDP per capita figures, and they are stated on a purchasing power parity basis. Where data was not reported, the IMF has estimated it. Life expectancy figures were taken from the World Bank. Much of the information provided regarding the safety of these countries were provided by the U.S. State Department.

These are the 10 countries where people do not feel safe.