alfred camera

Perception of Safety in the Neighborhood

Understanding safety and security concerns at the level of community enables a stronger comprehension of the individual’s sense of security as they experience daily life.
Does a person’s confidence in the safety of their neighborhood influence how much they like where they live?

The common crimes in neighborhoods

Among all surveyed regions, the most common type of crime experienced in neighborhoods was property crime (52%), followed by traffic violations (44%) and drugs (36%). However, in both Japan and Taiwan, traffic violations were instead the most perceived neighborhood crime.

Patterns between perceptions of global safety and neighborhood safety

Respondents' views on both global safety and neighborhood safety by country

The image of Japan being one of the safest places to live in the world is reinforced by the survey results. 73% of surveyed respondents in Japan think their community is safe. However, the level of confidence Japanese respondents had in their neighborhoods was not shared by all other MEDCs.

Mexico, Brazil, and Chile had the highest proportion of respondents answering that their neighborhood is unsafe.

Respondents' confidence in neighborhood safety by country

Only 52% of US respondents believe that their neighborhood is safe. With the exception of traffic violations, all types of neighborhood crimes, from property to violent crime, are perceived as widespread in the US. The rate of violent crime in the US was 26%, 10% higher than the global average. Likewise, the number of drug-related crimes reported by US respondents was 17% higher than the global average.

The most common crime types experienced by the US respondents in the past year

A safer neighborhood does not mean a higher level of fondness for it

The survey did not find a clear correlation between neighborhood safety and how much people liked their neighborhood.

The survey did not find a clear correlation between neighborhood safety and how much people liked their neighborhood

Despite having significant neighborhood crime, more than half of Chilean and Brazilian respondents (52% and 57%, respectively) expressed great fondness for their neighborhoods, saying they like where they live ‘very much’ or ‘an extreme amount’. Only 40% of US respondents expressed the same.
More surprisingly, only 28% of Taiwanese and 42% of Japanese respondents expressed great fondness for their neighborhoods, despite their neighborhoods being viewed as much safer.In Europe and Canada, respondents generally like the communities they live in.

Public Surveillance in the Neighborhood

The survey revealed an interesting finding regarding the prevalence of public surveillance systems in different countries.

Respondents' awareness of public surveillance systems in their neighborhood by country

82% of Taiwanese respondents said that public security cameras are in place in their neighborhoods, while only 38% of Japanese respondents said the same. Taiwanese respondents reported the highest number of public surveillance cameras where they live.

Editor’s Notes

  1. The anomaly of the Taiwanese response could be caused by respondents happening to be from the inner city rather than provincial or suburban areas, which are less likely to have extensive public surveillance.
  2. A person’s ‘sense of safety’ in local communities may be more informed by actual crime rates than by the existence of precautionary measures like public surveillance.
  3. The large discrepancy between the responses - from 82% to just 11% - suggests that public surveillance isn’t a universal aspect of modern communities at all.
Key Conclusions

The most common crime type in the surveyed neighborhoods is property crime. More interestingly, the survey found that living in a safer neighborhood does not necessarily guarantee a higher level of fondness for where they live.