Perception of World Safety
Would you say that we live in a safe or dangerous world today?
‘Global safety’ might seem like an abstract idea, but in an increasingly globalized world, it’s just as relevant as any personal security concern.
In fact, we think it’s the first step in understanding how different communities perceive safety and security overall.
Views on world safety vary significantly by country
The survey revealed that opinions on global safety differ dramatically across the world. It isn’t physical location that shapes the sense of safety and security, but the unique socioeconomic, political, cultural, and historical experiences that come with it.
According to the survey, Japanese people have the highest level of confidence in the world's safety, with more than half of Japanese respondents (54%) believing the world is safe, while Latin American countries have the lowest confidence overall.
Economic development does not always equal a better sense of security
The survey found that economic development doesn’t always correlate seamlessly with a sense of safety. There are discrepancies among the more economically developed countries (MEDCs) that were surveyed, indicating that other factors (e.g. crime) may be at play aside from just how economically developed a society is.
The data provided by US respondents undermines the idea of a correlation between economy and sense of security. Despite being part of the world's largest national economy, US respondents do not have a strong belief in global safety, viewing global safety much more negatively than other MEDCs. More than half of US respondents (56%) believe the world they live in today is dangerous, second only to Latin American respondents.
However, possible correlations between economic development and sense of safety were identified in Sweden, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. More than 70% of the respondents in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil (all economically developing countries) think that the world is not safe, while Japanese responses indicated a relatively high level of confidence in global safety.
Both the US and Latin America have significantly higher rates of crime than Japan. The safety of the community a person occupies may therefore influence their perception of how safe the world is as a whole. Those who experienced crimes in the past year tended to have more negative views towards safety and security issues.
Crime ranked as the most worrying event in almost all countries
If people think negatively of global safety, what worries them everyday?
The survey found that crime is the most universal concern that people have.
Respondents worry most about crime (68%), followed by war (39%) and privacy (35%). Crime is the most significant concern for people in the ten surveyed countries except for Germany (war) and Japan (natural disaster). Both war and natural disaster are anomalous responses that are unique to both countries.
Other anomalous responses include German respondents concerns about the environment and pensions, which may reflect unique socio-political circumstances in Germany. The US is most worried about privacy issues among the ten surveyed countries.
In addition to economic development, possible correlation was also found between a nation’s crime rate and the citizens' perception of global safety, with lower crime rates influencing a more positive view of safety in the world at large. Although crime is a concern shared by most countries, the unique sociological, geographic, and political experiences of each country dictate specific concerns.