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Security risk assessment

Global Security Threats: Find out about the threat of general and low-level crime around the world.

Find out about security threats around the world, from terrorism, serious crime and kidnap to natural disasters, overseas emergencies and cybercrime.

Global Security Threats

General & Low-Level Crime

  • Crime rates around the world have been rapidly increasing. Including the sharp increase of violence used to enable profitable criminal activity and violence as an act of crime in itself.

  • Globalisation has caused a negative effect in relation to crime in certain areas, with criminals exploiting the ease of movement and the increased destiny of population in major cities, coupled with reduced police forces and the overall effectiveness of the judicial system in these areas, coping with the increased volume of crime.

General and low-level crime rates around the world have been rapidly increasing in the last decade and continue to do so. Certain crimes also increased in volume and severity in a vast number of countries and cities around the world. In a globalised world with many people travelling between major cities and densely populated areas, profitable crime has been adapting to take advantage of this increase in footfall and potential targets. Furthermore, due to many countries reducing the amount of public money being spent on policing, criminals have been thriving in poorly policed areas and crime of an opportunist nature has increased, as the risk of arrest and prosecution has declined.​

Crime is a constant concern and a persistent threat that affects people from all walks of life, from poor to wealthy neighbourhoods, inner cities to rural areas and every country to different degrees. The crime or risk of becoming a victim may vary, but the result may have a lasting physical and mental impact on the victim, regardless of the nature of the event or the value of any stolen property involved. It can also have a long-standing negative effect on areas if it is not controlled sufficiently. Eroding the economy, communities and the country and directly affecting business, tourism and the likelihood of attracting people that are travelling or visiting a particular location for business or other reasons.

The sharp increase in violent crime is also a serious problem, this includes incidents of wounding and assault with or without injury, both can not be neglected or overlooked in present society, as more and more victims are not seeing a sufficient effort to protect the public in major globalised cities and are increasingly not seeing an outcome of 'justice being served' in many developed, presumed safe, countries.

There are many different factors that contribute to the increase in crime, these reasons can be complex, from conflict, policing, the judicial system's effectiveness, gangs, drug abuse, mental health, poverty, inequality, unemployment, population density, a breakdown in the family, the community and society, to society's attitude towards crime in general, all factors that can lead to an increase in crime. This can be compounded by rapidly changing communities and the rapid can in population density caused by globalisation and migration.

In many countries, poverty is often seen as a major cause of general crime, with high levels of crime often associated with communities where poverty is particularly prevalent. There are many countries around the globe affected by poverty and show that this can be a major contributing part of the problem, with many of these countries having consistently high levels of crime. This is not identical or the case in every country regarding the volume, type and severity of crime in many instances, as some have only moderate crime levels and other variations include huge differences in the types of crime committed. In some countries crime is associated with high levels of violence, in others, it is simply theft, while in others there is a large element of organised crime involving drugs, prostitution and racketeering, all being a serious issue in various poor economies.

In the past and in recent years, societies that have undergone radical change in a short space of time, often experience increased levels of crime. This is particularly noticeable in countries that have seen major changes in population densities, demographics and culture, in an ever-globalised world. More specific examples include the rapid change in Russia after the fall of communism and the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. This increased level and severity of the crime can be caused by criminal elements of societies in every part of the world, organised or not, seeing new opportunities to take advantage of rapid localised change and reduced restrictions giving way to ease of committing crime, profiting from crime and the ease of movement. 

The differing levels of crime can be associated with developing and new emerging societies that can give rise to high levels of corruption. Emerging from poverty or relative deprivation, the opportunities to make substantial amounts of profit through corrupt practices have plagued many governments and countries around the world. Additionally, the social tolerance of crime can be a factor that influences the crime rate. In many cultures, there is a high level of tolerance towards criminal behaviour, locally and nationally and in others, it is not accepted at the lowest level with a high level of cooperation with the police being the norm. Where there are high levels of organised crime activity in existence, it can have the effect of impeding this cooperation, as in many cases there is a fear of reprisals towards victims and the community in general. In some communities around the world, there is a prevalent 'criminal class' that operates within the community. Criminals groom their children or others into a lifestyle of crime and teach criminal behaviour and skills for selected criminal activity. Some are forced or encouraged to commit crimes including, pick-pocketing, shoplifting, car theft, ATM robbery and other low-level criminal activity. Different levels of morality may also be a factor, certain societies may foster a strong sense of right and wrong and in others, this may not be the case, this includes attitudes towards all crimes from low-level theft up to serious crime and murder.

Crime is extremely difficult to completely remove from any society. It is also difficult to eliminate the risk of being exposed to, or being a target of crime. Countries and cities with a strong police force coupled with high sentences for convictions, inevitably help to reduce the overall crime rate in a particular country. The greatest influence on the level of crime lies in the perceived honesty and trust of the government, authorities and police force of any particular country. Where government and businesses are perceived to be corrupt and dishonest, there is little prospect of reducing the overall levels of crime. This can be seen when governments change towards or adopt leadership that provides a high level of integrity and honesty, this leads to more trust in the authorities and more support for any given law enforcement. Although the effectiveness of a particular police force and government can not fully protect people, it can produce a strong deterrent towards crime and can reduce the risk of being a victim of crime. Some countries adopt a harsh method of policing and governance which may reduce the levels of crime to a low level comparatively, but this can have a negative effect on the freedom of people, including visitors and does not completely eliminate crime of any type.

There are numerous personal steps that can be taken to protect individuals, property and businesses against crime. These steps include basic situational awareness of the region's, country's and location's risk of crime in general, whether in a home country or while travelling or visiting new or previously visited locations around the world. Including awareness of the level and effectiveness of law enforcement and security within the location in question. Robust action taken towards implementing good risk management, crisis management and security measures are also advisable steps that reduce the risk of being exposed to crime and ensure a positive outcome should an incident take place. Although risk can never be eliminated, preparedness can have a huge effect on reducing the risks faced by any individual, business or organisation, anywhere around the globe, regardless of the level of crime.

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