Namibians feel unsafe

Otis Daniels_Finck
Windhoek • Ellanie Smit

The majority of Namibians polled by an international organisation say they do not feel safe walking alone in the streets, while Namibia has again been ranked as one of the worst countries when it comes to law and order.

The global polling group Gallup has published the results of its latest poll on crime and policing in 115 countries.

Overall Namibia ranked 103rd, with a law and order score of 62. This is a slight decline from last year’s score at 63, and made Namibia the 12th worst country in the world and ninth worst in sub-Saharan Africa.


Gallup’s latest results are based on interviews with more than 120 000 adults in the 115 countries in 2020. The group asked people about the level of crime in their area, how safe they felt walking the streets and how much confidence they had in the police.

It then compiled the results into scores out of 100 and created an index ranking each country by its overall law and order score.

The lowest ranked countries on the index are Cameroon, Uganda, Guinea, Gabon and Venezuela.

The top performers are Norway, United Arab Emirates, China, Switzerland and Finland.

The report says Namibia is the eight least safe country for people to walk alone, with only 40% of people saying they feel safe doing so. United Arab Emirates at 95% is ranked the safest and Venezuela at 31% is the least safe.

“The countries in which residents are least likely to say they feel safe walking alone at night are exclusively a mix of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Six of them also ranked among the least safe in 2019 — Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Namibia, South Africa, Gabon and Venezuela.”

Walking after dark

Nearly seven in 10 people worldwide in 2020 said they feel safe walking alone at night where they live (72%) and have confidence in their local police (71%).

About one in eight (13%) said they had money or property stolen from them or another household member in the past year, and 6% said they were assaulted or mugged.

According to the report these figures have not changed much for years, but in 2020, the percentages of people who said they felt safe walking alone at night and had confidence in their local police edged up just slightly, from 69% for each in 2019.

The other figures remained in line with those from the past several years.

The Gallup poll is a perceptions index, an overview of what Namibians think and experience.

Though recent statistics have shown that crime rates dropped during the lockdown, Namibians have expressed concern regarding violent crimes against women that is on the increase.