(CNSNews.com) — A new survey shows that Ecuador, which is on the western coast of South America above Peru, “now ranks as the least safe country in Latin America,” according to Gallup. The rising danger in the country largely stems from gang violence, drug trafficking, and civil unrest.
The situation in western Ecuador is so bad that perceived public safety is “is now at a level similar to what Afghanistan experienced in 2021 (77% felt unsafe) when the Taliban returned to power, or Chad in 2006 (74%) during an attempted military coup,” said Gallup.
In the survey of 1,000 Ecuadoran adults, aged 15 and older, Gallup asked, “Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?”
In response, only 35% said yes, they feel safe; 64% said no, they do not feel safe walking alone at night in the city where they live.
“Over the past couple of years, Ecuador has found itself to be a new nerve center in the global drug trade,” said the polling firm. “Situated between the world’s two largest producers of cocaine — Colombia and Peru — Ecuador has historically been fairly successful in limiting its exposure to the worst effects of regional drug trafficking.”
“However, booming cocaine production in Colombia, cuts to Ecuador’s prison budgets and the elimination of the Justice Ministry, among other factors, have meant that the state is now less able to control the effects of the international drug trade.”
Among the Ecuadorans who said they did not feel safe walking alone at night, 71% of them were aged 50 and older; 72% of them were women (aged 15 and up).
In addition to not feeling safe, many Ecuadorans have lost faith in the police and the courts.
As Gallup discovered, only 41% of Ecuadorans said they have confidence in local police, and only 24% said they have confidence in the judicial system.
“Confidence in local police falls to just 30% among those who feel unsafe walking alone at night in their neighborhoods,” reported Gallup. “The rapid fall in overall confidence in the police demonstrates that vulnerable Ecuadorians no longer have faith in the state to protect them.”
To read the survey, click here.
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