For women, just walking around can be a dangerous activity, especially at night. But it turns out that people feel safer walking home alone in some countries than in others, according to data from the Gallup World Poll. And, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the United States doesn't do too badly on the list.
"Don't walk home alone after dark" is fairly standard advice, adn it's given out to women all the time. Even though women are far more likely to be attacked by someone they know than a stranger lurking in the shadows — according to RAINN82 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger — it seems like it's easier advice to give women than "Don't know people" (or even easier than, y'know, to tell rapists, "Don't rape people"); as a result, it's pretty deeply engrained in all of us by now. Even just in the United States, though, there's obviously a lot of variation in how dangerous it is to be out and about at night, depending on where you live. So it makes sense that different countries would be safer — or at least, would have people who feel safer.
As someone who's spent a long time time trying to work out just how dangerous is it to go out after dark, I'm not sure how accurate people's feelings of safety really are in terms of assessing the actual relative safety of a place. After all, perception is a tricky thing, and what you've been told about the safety of a city or neighborhood doesn't always match up with actual crime statistics. But then again, people do tend to know the place where they live pretty well. So I suppose it's a decent enough rubric to use.
So here are the seven countries where people feel safest walking home alone at night.
70 percent of people in France say they feel safe walking home alone at night.
2. The United States
Told you the United States didn't do so bad: 72 percent of people in the country say they feel safe walking home alone at night.
The luck of the Irish is with you on your walk home, it seems. 75 percent of people in Ireland say they feel safe walking home alone at night.
79 percent of people in the UK say they feel safe walking home alone at night.
An impressive 80 percent of people in Germany say they feel safe walking home alone at night. That's four out of five!
Even more impressive, 85 percent of people in Spain say they feel safe walking home alone at night.
It wouldn't be a list of good things if a Nordic country wasn't somewhere in the top right? 86 percent of people in Norway say they feel safe walking home alone at night. Maybe it's the Aurora Borealis, keeping everyone safe. Or maybe everything is just better in Scandinavia.