Interpersonal Safety and Trust

Interpersonal norms of trust and security exist to the extent that individuals in a society feel they can rely on those whom they have not met before. Where this is the case, the costs of social organisation and collective action are reduced. Where these norms do not exist or have been eroded over time, it becomes more difficult for individuals to form group associations, undertake an enterprise, and live safely and securely.

Studies have shown that societies with norms of trust and trustworthiness experience faster economic growth, have denser civic and associational life, and more effective public institutions, whereas in societies where people must fear violation of their personal and property rights, there are lower rates of new enterprise creation, engagement in associational life, and compliance with public authorities.  

We measure personal security and trust by using data on general social trust from a wide variety of surveys,  indicators of trustworthiness such as reported levels of crime victimisation, survey responses on feelings of safety and security in one’s neighbourhood, data on the incidence of homicide, and risk reports on the likelihood of physical attack, extortion, or robbery.

Data used for the 2020 Index:

Frequency of alcohol consumed on the streets in our neighbourhood ( alues of very and quite frequently)freq_alcohol_use_in_streetWorld Values Surveys42
How much do you trust your family? (“not very much” or “not at all”)trust_familyWorld Values Surveys73
How much do you trust people you meet for the first time?” (“not very much” or “not at all”)trust_people_meet_first_timeWorld Values Surveys73
Are you satisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?freedom_of_choice_in_life_satisfiedWorld Happiness Report-Gallup144
Felt unsafe in home, proportion saying ‘never’felt_unsafe_at_homeAfrobarometer34
Had stuff stolen from home, proportion saying ‘never’never_stolen_from_homeAfrobarometer34
Africa, % have not been attackednever_been_attackedAfrobarometer34
Feel Safe in their Area at Nightfeels_safe_at_nightEuropean Social Survey40
Preferred not to go out at nightnot_go_out_at_nightWorld Values Surveys42
Theft of a motorized land vehicle, police recorded offences, rates per 100,000 populationcar_theft_rateUnited Nations Office On Drugs and Crime60
Theft, police recorded offences, rates per 100,000 populationtheft_nationalUnited Nations Office On Drugs and Crime74
Sexual Exploitation, rates per 100,000 inhabitantssex_exploitationUnited Nations Office On Drugs and Crime44
Have you, or someone in your family, been assaulted, attacked, or victim of crime in the last 12 months? Percentageattacked_last_yearLatinobarometer18
Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that your can’t be too careful in dealing with people?most_people_can_be_trustedLatinobarometer18
Frequency in your neighborhood: drug sale in street (values of very and quite frequently)freq_drugs_sale_in_streetWorld Values Surveys42
Frequency of robberies in the neighbourhood ( values of very and quite frequently)robberies_in_neighbourhoodWorld Values Surveys42
Have you been victim of any type of crime in the past 12 months? Frequency in the neighbourhood of robberiesfeel_secure_in_neighbourhoodAmericas Barometer43
Have you been victim of any type of crime in the past 12 months?attempted _murderUnited Nations Office On Drugs and Crime5
Kidnapping Rateattempted_kidnappingUnited Nations Office On Drugs and Crime65
Estimates by country
homicide_rate_UNCJINWorld Health Organization183
WHO homicide ratewho_homiWorld Health Organization183
How much do you trust people you know personally? (“not very much” or “not at all”)trust_people_know_personallyWorld Values Surveys73