Which Countries Have the Most Crime Per Population?

Statistics suggest you could be a victim at these destinations

Crime is everywhere around the world. By understanding where crimes statistically happen the most, travelers can be prepared for the worst in their travels.
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In a previous article, we considered the amount of crime that takes place within nations around the world. While it is very easy to use anecdotal evidence to claim one destination is more dangerous than another, statistics can help travelers determine which nations have the highest instances of crime before they travel.

Year after year, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNDOC) collects statistics from member countries to better understand international crime patterns.

Although it is important to note that the data set is limited in a number of ways, including reporting philosophy and disproportionate populations, the reporting gives travelers a broad look at overall crime patterns around the world. 

No matter where an itinerary takes travelers, prevention ahead of arrival is critical to having a positive experience. Before travelers head out to see the globe, be sure to understand your risk of becoming a victim of crime. According to data from the UNODC, these nations have the most statistical instances of crime per population. 

Dangerous countries for assault per population in the world

In collecting their annual statistics, the UNODC defines assault as any "… physical attack against the body of another person resulting in serious bodily injury, excluding indecent/sexual assault, threats and slapping/punching." However, assaults that end in homicide are excluded from this report.

The countries that had the highest amount of assaults per population were found in South America: Ecuador had the most instances of assaults per population in 2013, at over 1,000 assaults per 100,000 population in the nation. Argentina, another popular destination, came in second, with nearly 840 assaults every year per 100,000 population.

Slovakia, Japan, and island destination St. Kitts and Nevis also reported high amounts of assaults, each nation reporting over 600 assaults per 100,000 population during 2013.

Dangerous countries for kidnapping per population in the world

The UNODC considers kidnapping as "… unlawfully detaining a person or persons against their will," with the intention of collecting ransom or coercing the kidnapped person do to something. However, child custody disputes that cross international borders are not considered in the kidnapping statistics.

In 2013, Lebanon reported the most instances of kidnapping, reporting over 30 kidnappings per 100,000 population. Belgium also reported a high number of reported kidnappings, with 10 kidnappings per 100,000 population. Cabo Verde, Panama, and India also had high numbers of kidnappings, each nation reporting over 5 kidnappings per 100,000 population.

It is important to show that Canada also reported a high number of kidnappings Per Population, with over 9 kidnappings per 100,000 population. However, the UNODC notes Canada's figures include both traditional kidnapping and forcible confinement, which is considered as a different crime entirely. Therefore, even though Canada reported a high number of kidnappings every year, the data includes additional statistics not within the traditional definition of kidnapping.

Dangerous countries for theft and robbery per population in the world

The UNODC report defines theft and robbery as two separate crimes. Theft is defined as "…depriving a person or organization of property without force with the intent to keep it," while robbery includes "…theft of property from a person, overcoming resistance by force or threat of force." In practice, a "robbery" would be a mugging or purse snatching, while pickpocketing would be considered "theft." Major thefts, like motor vehicles, are not included in these statistics. Because the UNODC considers these two crimes separate, we will consider the instances per population separately.

European nations Sweden, The Netherlands, and Denmark each reported a high number of thefts per population in 2013, with each nation reporting over 3,000 thefts per 100,000 population.

Norway, England and Wales, Germany, and Finland also reported a high number of thefts per population in their nation, with each nation reporting over 2,100 thefts per 100,000 population in that same time period.

In regards to robberies, Belgium reported the highest number of reports per population, with 1,616 robberies per 100,000 population in 2013. Costa Rica reported the second highest number, with 984 robberies per 100,000 population. Mexico came in fourth, reporting nearly 596 robberies per 100,000 population in 2013.

Dangerous countries for sexual violence per population in the world

The UNODC defines sexual violence as "rape, sexual assault, and sexual offenses against children." Reporting by the United Nations further breaks down statistics to reports of rape, as well as sexual offenses against children as separate data.

In 2013, island destination St. Vincent and the Grenadines reported the most sexual violence population, with just over 209 reports per 100,000 individuals. Sweden, The Maldives, and Costa Rica also reported high amounts of sexual violence, with each nation reporting over 100 cases per 100,000 population. India, which reported the most total cases of sexual violence, had 9.3 reports per 100,000 population – lower than Canada and several European nations.

When only rape is concerned, Sweden reported the most cases per population, with 58.9 cases per 100,000 citizens in 2013. England and Wales came in second, with 36.4 cases per 100,000 population, with Costa Rica coming in third with 35 rape cases per 100,000 population in the same amount of time. India, which reported 33,000 cases of rape in 2013, had 2.7 cases per 100,000 population – less than the United States, with 24.9 reports per 100,000 population.

While we hope travelers never become a victim of crime, preparing before visiting a destination can make sure you stay safe as you travel. By keeping these statistics in mind, travelers can make sure they are aware of risks before they visit their intended destination.