WASHINGTON — Fewer than four in 10 Russians say they feel safe walking alone at night, making Russia the European nation where perceptions of personal safety are the lowest, according to a new global survey.
Only 39 percent of Russians told Gallup pollsters that they feel safe walking alone at night, while half said they do not.
That ranked Russia eighth overall on a list of 134 countries where residents said they feel unsafe when they are out on their own after dark. The list is topped by Venezuela, where 74 percent of people said they do not feel safe.
It also means that Russia has the dubious distinction of being one of only 31 countries where fewer than half of adults feel safe when they go out alone at night.
"There's a correlation between how safe people feel walking alone and how much they trust the police force, and Russia is very low on both questions," said Steve Crabtree, a senior editor and research analyst at Gallup.
"In fact, just 35 percent of Russians say they have confidence in the local police force," he said.
But things are improving, said Neli Esipova, Gallup regional director for former Soviet Union countries. The first time the poll about safety perceptions was conducted in Russia in 2006, 27 percent said they were at ease going out alone after dark compared to nearly 40 percent today.
At the other end of the rankings, 92 percent of residents in Qatar said they feel safe after dark, followed closely by Georgia, where 91 percent said they felt safe when walking alone at night.
Russians' perceptions of personal safety at night are on par with those of Afghans and residents of the Dominican Republic — 39 percent of respondents in both countries said they feel safe walking alone at night — and slightly worse than perceptions of safety in the impoverished African island nation of Madagascar, Bolivia in South America, and in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, where 40 percent of those surveyed said they felt safe.
The other countries that fared worse than Russia were all in Africa: South Africa, Chad, Botswana and Gabon.
In the United States, 74 percent said they felt safe walking alone at night.
Gallup conducted face-to-face interviews with around 2,000 Russian adults, aged 18 and older, for the survey. At least 1,000 people were interviewed by phone or face-to-face in each of the other 133 countries included in the poll, whose margin of error was 2 to 5 percentage points.