Safety in Latin America
One of the global trends we have observed over the last four years is a decline in Safety & Security. One of the main drivers of this trend has been the Latin American region. Low levels of personal safety and high crime rates have long been a challenge in the region. Social inequality is often considered a major driver of crime and violence. For example, in the last five years, violence associated with drug cartels has killed approximately 50,000 people in Mexico alone.
The Safety & Security sub-index has two parts: national security and personal safety. For the purpose of this analysis, we have split the sub-index according to these two components. This reveals that Latin America is the worst performer in personal safety, globally, together with sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, Latin Americans feel the least safe when walking alone at night.
Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru report the highest levels of both property theft and assault, while Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay report the lowest levels of people that feel safe walking alone at night. The outliers in the region are Panama and Jamaica who perform comparatively well on these indicators.
In Uruguay, citizens feel relatively safe walking alone at night and the percentage of the population who has suffered assault is low, but the percentage of the population who has had property stolen is much higher, placing the country among the bottom five performers on this variable.
Some countries in Latin America have taken firm action to curb crime and violence, including measures such as the banning of weapons in Honduras or proposals for drug legalisation in Uruguay and Colombia. However, more remains to be done to bring crime levels down.