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latin america violence

Latin Americans fear crime and violence more than anyone globally

More than two in five people (43%) from Latin America and the Caribbean believe that crime and violence is the greatest threat to their safety, while over one third (37%) would permanently move to another country, a new global report shows.

The report is from the second edition of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup, which consists of research with more than 125,000 people across 121 countries.

With much of Latin America and the Caribbean facing significantly higher homicides per 100,000 people compared to the rest of the world, high percentages of people named crime and violence as the biggest threat to their safety. This response was highest in Venezuela (60%), Ecuador (50%), Argentina (49%), Colombia (47%) and Mexico (46%). In contrast, only 3% of respondents in the region saw Covid-19 as their biggest threat.

Additionally, almost two in five people (37%) in Latin American and the Caribbean say they would permanently move to another country if given the chance [1]. Globally, this statistic stands at just 16%, implying fear of violence may be a major motivation, as has been suggested by previous research.

The World Risk Poll report – A Changed World? Perceptions and experiences of risk in the Covid age – focuses on people’s experiences with, and perceptions of, commonly faced risks across the globe. These include workplace harm, crime and violence, and road traffic collisions.

Globally, the World Risk Poll found that the percentage of those who felt ‘less safe’ than they did five years prior had increased from 30% in 2019 to 34% in 2021. In contrast, while almost half (49%) of Latin American and Caribbean respondents felt less safe in 2021 than they did five years previously, this figure has dropped by 3% from the 2019 data.

People across Latin America and the Caribbean are also more aware of the threat of climate change than in almost any other region of the world, behind only Northern/Western and Southern Europe. Only 15% of people from the region did not view climate change as a threat, compared with higher figures in developed regions including Eastern Europe (26%), Northern America (24%) and Australia/New Zealand (19%), and much higher figures in regions such as Northern Africa and Eastern Asia where more than four in 10 people did not recognise the threat.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “The World Risk Poll is designed to provide insight for policymakers into which risks are most affecting the lives of populations across the world, and our findings will help them work with communities to make people safer.

“It provides a unique resource to analyse both global and regional trends, and the results from Latin America and the Caribbean should not be ignored. In the midst of a global pandemic, the continued fear of violence and crime shows that greater action must be taken to improve safety.

“Globally, especially in regions that already face widespread poverty and instability, governments and other policymakers must work with communities to build strategies to protect people from future pandemics that also account for the other risks they may now find themselves even more vulnerable to.”

Funding is available from Lloyd’s Register Foundation for further research and interventions using World Risk Poll data to reduce risk. Click here for more information.

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