How safe do you feel? Canada ranks 8th on global survey of personal security

The 2018 Global Law and Order Report outline where in the world people feel safest. Getty Images

Do you feel safe walking the streets alone at night?

That’s the question a worldwide survey carried about by Gallup asked respondents across 142 countries.

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The 2018 Global Law and Order survey asked 148,000 people around the world to evaluate how safe they feel in their respective countries. It found that residents of Singapore feel the highest sense of personal security and have the most positive experiences with law enforcement.

Countries which followed Singapore included Norway, Iceland and Finland. Canada ranked 8th on the list.

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The United States ranked far lower than its northern neighbours in 35th position, while the United Kingdom was 21st.

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The survey also asked residents how much confidence they have in local police, and whether they had been victim of a robbery or assault in the past year.

Here’s a breakdown of the survey’s results:

Lowest ranking countries

The lowest ranking country on the list overall was Venezuela, where just 17 per cent of residents said they feel safe at night. The country also trailed in other questions.

Other countries at the bottom of the list included Afghanistan, South Sudan, Gabon, Liberia and South Africa.

Walking alone at night

Ninety-four per cent of residents in the highest ranking country, Singapore, said they felt safe walking alone at night.

Singapore’s crime rate is among the lowest in the world, according to NBC News. It’s so low that many shops don’t even lock up at night.

However, the country has been criticized for its surveillance of citizens. The Singapore Police Force has thousands of cameras installed in public apartment blocks, neighbourhoods, walkways and more.

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In Canada, 84 per cent of those surveyed said they said felt safe.

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The survey explained that residents in economically developed countries were more likely to feel safe, in general.

However, some surprising countries ranked higher than Canada in the list, including Rwanda, where 88 per cent of people felt comfortable alone in the dark.

Seventy-one per cent of Americans said they felt safe.

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Trust in police

The majority of people around the world said they trusted local police at 69 per cent — but the results varied significantly based on region.

In Canada and the U.S., 82 per cent of residents said local law enforcement has their confidence. That was followed by Western Europe where authority is trusted by a large majority at 80 per cent.

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But things were very different in Latin America and the Caribbean. Those regions had the lowest confidence in police in the world at 42 per cent.

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Within these regions, Venezuelans had the lowest confidence at 24 per cent. The report added that this is the country’s second year in the bottom spot, which highlights that there is a deeper problem.

Security forces in Venezuela have been condemned for using excessive force during protests in the recent past. In 2017, the United Nations said the country used “disproportionate force to instill fear, crush dissent.”

Several dozen people died in political protests that turned violent in the country last year.

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Victims of crime

The country where the most residents reported being victims of theft in the past year was South Sudan at 50 per cent, followed by Uganda (49 per cent) and Afghanistan (46 per cent).

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Unlike other questions, Venezuela wasn’t in the bottom spot — but it was close. Forty-two per cent of residents said they had their money or property stolen.

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Overall in the world, five per cent of respondents said they had been victims of such a crime in the past year.

This Gallup survey was conducted in person and over the phone by approximately 1,000 people in each of the 142 countries included. It was conducted throughout 2017. It has a margin of sampling error between plus or minus 2.1 percentage points and 5.6 percentage points. 

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