South Africans have been concerned about their safety as incidences of crime rise in the country, and global polling group Gallup has determined that it is the fifth most unsafe country in the world. This ranking is based on the perceptions of the citizens who live here.
The group conducted more than a thousand face-to-face and telephonic interviews in each country on the list, and received more than 152 000 responses. They asked people about the levels of crime in their areas, how safe they felt when walking in the streets, and how confident they felt in the capabilities of their local police force.
The results were then compiled into scores, and thus, an index was created which ranks each country by their overall law and order score.
The Gallup Index provides a composite score based on citizen’s reported confidence in the local police force, their feelings of personal safety and the incidences of assault, muggings and thefts in the past year.
South Africa dropped in the overall rankings in the latest index, with a score of 56. This ranks it at the fifth-worst for law and order among the 142 countries ranked. The higher a country’s score, the higher a proportion of the population reports they feel safe.
According to Gallup, more than two in three people in the world said they feel safe walking alone at night in their neighbourhoods (69%) and have confidence in their local police force (68%).
One in eight (13%) said they had property stolen from them or another household member in the past year, while 6% said they were assaulted or mugged.
In contrast to this, 31% of South Africans polled that they felt safe, while only 59% of people felt confident in their local police force’s capabilities.
While the Gallup index is based on the perceptions of a country’s citizens around their own safety and security, the findings line up with several other sources painting South Africa as one of the least safe places in the world.
An unrelated story by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released their 2019 Global Peace Index earlier this year, which showed that South Africa continued to slide down the rankings as one of the world’s most violent and dangerous countries.
South Africa has historically scored poorly in a number of areas including:
– Perception of high levels of crime
– Easy access to weapons
– High levels of political terror
– High levels of violent demonstrations