Crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population, and then the result is multiplied by 100,000
The crime rates in each country. While there is no clear reason as to why crimes are committed, there are several factors attributed to high crime rates. High crime rates are seen in countries or areas where there are high poverty levels and low job availability. Strict police enforcement and tough sentences tend to reduce crime rates. There is a strong correlation between age and crime, with most crimes, especially violent crimes, being committed by those ages 20-30 years old.
The crime rate in the United States is 46.73. The violent crime rate in the United States has decreased sharply over the past 25 years. Crimes rates vary greatly between the states, with states with such as Alaska and Tennessee experiencing much higher crime rates than states such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Some of the lowest crime rates in the world can be seen in Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Japan, and New Zealand. Each of these countries has very effective law enforcement and Denmark, Norway, and Japan have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. Countries such as Austria do see more petty crimes such as purse snatching or pickpocketing.
Countries with the Highest Crime Rates
The countries with the ten highest crime rates in the world are:
- Venezuela (84.49)
- Papua New Guinea (81.93)
- South Africa (77.49)
- Afghanistan (76.23)
- Honduras (76.11)
- Trinidad and Tobago (73.19)
- Brazil (68.88)
- Peru (68.15)
- El Salvador (67.96)
- Guyana (67.66)
Venezuela has a crime index of 84.86, the highest of any country in the world. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for Venezuela, indicating that it is not safe to travel to the country and travelers should not travel there. The high crime rates in Venezuela have been attributed to corruption among Venezuelan authorities, a poor judiciary system, and poor gun control. Because of the country’s recent economic hardship, homicides, armed assaults, and kidnappings are decreasing.
2. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has a crime index of 81.93. Crime, especially violent crime, in Papua New Guinea is largely fueled by rapid social, economic, and political changes. Raskol gangs are gangs that engage in small and large-scale criminal activity and consist mainly of members with a limited or informal education and employment opportunities. Organized crime in the form of corruption is also common in major cities and largely contributes to the high crime rate. Additionally, the geography of Papua New Guinea makes it appealing for drug and human trafficking.
3. South Africa
South Africa has the third-highest crime rate in the world. South Africa has a notable high rate of assaults, rape, homicides, and other violent crimes. This has been attributed to several factors such as high levels of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and social exclusion and the normalization of violence, among other things. South Africa has the highest rape rate in the world of 132.4 incidents per 100,000 people, causing South Africa to be called the “rape capital of the world.” More than 1 in 4 men surveyed by the South African Medical Research Council admitted to committing rape.
Afghanistan has the fourth-highest crime rate. Crime is present in various forms including corruption, assassinations/contract killings, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and money laundering. After Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, opium poppy cultivation and drug trafficking increased and Afghanistan is now the large producer of illicit opium. Since the downfall of the Taliban, crime rates increased in Kabul, the country’s capital city. Widespread unemployment also fuels much of the country’s crimes such as robbery and assault. The U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 travel advisory for Afghanistan, advising travelers to not go to the country due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, and terrorism.
With a crime index of 76.11, Honduras ranks fifth for crime. Honduras’s peak of violent crime was in 2012, where the country experienced about 20 homicides per day. Perpetrators of these homicides were typically members of gangs such as Barrio 18 or Mara Salvatrucha and were carried out using firearms. Honduras is also considered to be a major drug route to the United States. Weak domestic law enforcement has made the country an easy point of entry for the illegal drug trade. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for Honduras, indicating that travelers should reconsider entering the country.
6. Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago has the sixth-highest crime rate in the world. The government of Trinidad and Tobago faces several challenges in its effect to reduce crime, such as bureaucratic resistance to change, the negative influence of gangs, drugs, economic recession, and an overburdened legal system. There is a large demand for illegal weapons as well, which drug trafficking and gang-related activities fuel. Trinidad and Tobago has a Level 2 travel advisory, meaning that travelers should exercise increased caution. Visitors are typically victims of pickpocketing, assault, theft, and fraud.
Brazil has the seventh-highest crime rate in the world with particularly high rates of violent crimes. Brazil’s homicide rate is anywhere between 30 to 35 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, placing the country in the top 20 countries by intentional homicide rate. Between 2017 and 2018, however, the homicide rate fell by 13% from over 59,000 homicides to 51,000. Brazil’s largest problem is organized crime, as organized crime has expanded in recent years and violence between rival groups is a common occurrence. Drug trafficking, corruption, and domestic violence are all pervasive issues in Brazil. Between 10 and 15 women are murdered every day in Brazil.
Peru is eighth on the list with a crime index of 68.15. Areas of concern in Peru include the Columbian-Peruvian border due to crime and the area known as the Valley of the Rivers Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro (VRAEM) due to crime and terrorism. In many parts of the country, especially Lima, armed robbery, assault, burglary, and petty theft are common. While foreign visitors are not typically the targets of crime, they are vulnerable as many robberies are common along the routes between the airport and hotels. Corruption, domestic violence, and the illegal drug trade are also major concerns in Peru.
9. El Salvador
Organized crime is the largest problem in El Salvador, contributing to most of the social violence, with the country’s two largest gangs, MS-13 and Barrio 18. There are an estimated 25,000 gang members at large in El Salvador, in addition to 9,000 in prison, and about 60,000 young people in youth gangs, which dominate the country. Gangs also have cultivated relationships with drug traffickers and have also resulted in disputing over territory with drug traffickers. Aside from gangs, high unemployment rates and low wages in El Salvador have pushed families into marginalized areas where crimes are more common. Property crimes, such as robbery, theft, and theft of vehicles, are the most common crimes committed.
Finishing the top ten list is Guyana, which has a murder rate that is about four times higher than that of the United States. Despite a rigorous licensing requirement to own fires, the use of weapons by criminals is common. Domestic violence is common in all regions of Guyana, as the enforcement of domestic violence laws is weak. Armed robberies are common as well, especially in Georgetown. Additionally, tourists are often the victims of hotel break-ins, robberies, and assaults. Visitors to Guyana are advised to exercise increased caution due to crime.
Below is a table with each country's crime rate.