Venezuela

Is Venezuela the world's most dangerous country? Its residents think so

In this Feb. 18, 2014, file photo, demonstrators rest from taking part in an opposition protest next to the outline of a body, representing a police chalk outline, with Venezuela written in red, to symbolize blood, in Caracas, Venezuela.
In this Feb. 18, 2014, file photo, demonstrators rest from taking part in an opposition protest next to the outline of a body, representing a police chalk outline, with Venezuela written in red, to symbolize blood, in Caracas, Venezuela. AP

Venezuelans perceived their country to be the most dangerous place on the planet in 2017 — worse than war-torn nations, failed states and global trouble spots.

In its annual 2018 Global Law and Order Index, Gallup found that Venezuelans distrusted their police, felt unsafe walking at night and had been robbed or assaulted at an alarming rate compared to the rest of the world.

The country had a law and order score of 44 in Gallup’s survey, putting it dead last among 140 nations — behind Afghanistan, South Sudan, Gabon, Liberia and South Africa. It was the second year in a row that Venezuela anchored the global list, as the once-wealthy nation faces broad economic, political and social collapse.

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While Venezuela had the lowest overall score, Gallup said the nation was “essentially on par” with Afghanistan.

“While Afghans were more likely than Venezuelans to have been the victims of theft, Venezuelans were less likely to have confidence in their local police and were more likely to have been assaulted,” the report found.

In particular, 42 percent of Venezuelans said they had been robbed in the last 12 months — higher than at any other point since the survey started in Venezuela in 2006. In addition, 23 percent said they had been assaulted in the last year, also a record high for the country.

Venezuela stands out even in a deeply troubled region. Gallup found that the Latin America and the Caribbean region is perceived as the least secure on the planet, with a score of 62. That’s compared to Sub-Saharan Africa (68), Eastern Europe (81) and South Asia (83).

The safest regions were East Asia (87) and Southeast Asia (86). Western Europe and the United States and Canada were tied in third place with a score of 85.

The five countries perceived as being the safest were Singapore, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Uzbekistan. The United States was midway down the list, with a score of 84 — on par with France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Gallup interviewed about 1,000 people in each of the participating countries to create the index.

Venezuela’s crime has been soaring for more than a decade, amid the breakdown in institutions and rule of law. While the United Nations and others believe the country is among the most dangerous in the world, the Venezuelan office that used to provide regular homicide data was shut down in 2003.

Top 10

(Perceived as safest countries)

Singapore (97)

Norway (93)

Iceland (93)

Finland (93)

Uzbekistan (91)

Hong Kong (91)

Switzerland (90)

Canada (90)

Indonesia (89)

Denmark (88)

Bottom 10

(Perceived as least safe countries)

Venezuela (44)

Afghanistan (45)

South Sudan (54)

Gabon (55)

Liberia (56)

South Africa (58)

Mexico (58)

Dominican Rep. (60)

Botswana (61)

Sierra Leone (61)

Source: Gallup, 2018 Global Law and Order

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