The safest countries in the world

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September 5, 2018
canadastock // Shutterstock

World's Safest Countries

When traveling internationally, especially for the first time, many tourists research their destination country’s safety. What makes a country safe? It could be whether you can walk your dog at night without looking over your shoulder or even how the country fares on women’s rights.  

Gallup conducted a Global Law and Order poll to answer this complex question, interviewing more than 148,000 adults in 142 countries or areas in 2017 with a baseline of four questions to determine citizens’ own feelings of safety in their daily lives. Questions included whether people felt confidence in their local police, whether they felt safe walking at night, if they’ve had anything stolen in the past 12 months, and whether they’ve been mugged or assaulted in the past year.

Stacker analyzed the full results to rank the safest countries in the world. Consider these locales next time the travel bug strikes.

RELATED: Most popular countries for tourists

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fjaka // Pixabay

#43. Croatia (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

As one of the newest members of the European Union, Croatia is part of the Balkan Peninsula—along with Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Hungary—bordering the Adriatic Sea. The country is famous for its endless coastline, 120-plus islands, alluring UNESCO Heritage Sites and major festivals and events like Yacht Week. Hikers and explorers would do well to stay on marked paths, as unexploded land mines still dot the countryside from a series of past conflicts.


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theSOARnet // Pixabay

#43. Poland (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Though it’s been in the news for decidedly undemocratic reasons of late, that shouldn’t dissuade travelers from putting Poland on their travel lists. From its striking history sites and wildlife-rich forests to world-famous museums and Europe's largest medieval town square, there is so much to see, eat, and do in this massive country, you’ll be pressed to find the time. From a safety perspective, law and order is always high on their priority lists.


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ddouk // Pixabay

#43. Israel (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

If all you knew about Israel was from what you read in the news, one might assume Israel was a war-torn country engaged in daily battles. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth—and Gallup’s index backs it up. Israel is home to the world’s largest three monotheistic religions, with millions of tourists visiting holy sites in Jerusalem every year. This travel boom compels the country to keep the sites and cities as safe as possible. Outside of the capital, the cuisine, beaches and nightlife in Tel Aviv are all world-class.


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Ludovic Lubeigt // Flickr

#43. Mauritius (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

This fascinating island in the middle of the Indian Ocean has a long history of colonization that strongly influenced its unique demographic makeup. Once at times ruled by the Dutch, French, and British, the island has developed a wide range and blend of languages, ethnicities, and religions that all make for a rich culture. Nature-lovers will be wowed as the island is home to some of the most unique and rarest flora and fauna on earth.


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Monoar // Pixabay

#43. Bangladesh (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

If you want to travel to Bangladesh, now may be the time—climate change may influence its tourism for decades to come. In the meantime, this south Asian country is home to diverse wildlife, ancient monasteries, stunning beaches and islands, and medieval-era fortresses. Crime is relatively low here.


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TheDigitalWay // Pixabay

#43. Philippines (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Nestled between the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea, the Philippines is made up of 7,641 islands. There are places to avoid in any country, and this country is no exception. Tourists are advised to steer clear of Marawi City on Mindanao, due to local uprisings and terrorist concerns. If you are caught with even small amounts of drugs in the Philippines, sentences are harsh and mandatory, particularly in light of the current presidential administration’s reputation for enforcing these laws.


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falco // Pixabay

#43. Serbia (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

With the Kosovo War firmly in its rear window, Serbia is now a country known more for its vibrant nightlifein Belgrade particularly, eclectic cuisine, big festivals, and a history that spans between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy. Traveling through the country will reveal hidden gems, ancient fortresses, and sprawling natural parks.


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Matthew Field // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Australia (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

On one hand, Australia has some of the most incredible geological formations, endless pristine beaches, soaring modern cities, and the Great Barrier Reef, which is the planet’s largest living organism. On the other hand, the country has some of the most vicious and venomous animals on the planet. The lesson here is to always stay on the path. In general, you’re in little-to-no danger from the human population itself.


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travel oriented // Wikimedia Commons

#43. South Korea (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Steering clear of Demilitarized Zone, which is still dense with war-era landmines, the rest of the country is a safe haven where food, family, and fun are all high priorities. Don’t miss out on fun attractions like Lotte Worldone of the largest indoor-outdoor theme parks on the planet—or the array of UNESCO World Heritage sites, like Seoul’s 700-year-old Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine.


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dracula stuff // Flickr

#43. Romania (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Though it’s considered one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union, Romania has made a concerted effort in recent years to clean up their government and promote tourism on a wide scale. The country boasts unique highlights not found anywhere else. On a single trip, you can visit Dracula’s Castle, visit resorts on the Black Sea, and admire capital city Bucharest’s architectural landmarks by day and booming club scene at night.


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David Stanley // Flickr

#43. Iran (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Is Iran safe to travel to? That answer isn’t exactly straightforward. Geopolitics aside—with which there are many concerns—traveling in and around the country is a generally hassle-free experience with a landscape that might surprise a first-time visitor. There are sweeping deserts, rolling mountains, beach towns along the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, and one-of-a-kind archaeological sites. Just keep in mind this handy list of things not to do while traversing the country, and you should fare just fine.


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Peter Addor // Flickr

#43. Sri Lanka (tie)

Law and order index score: 82

Sri Lanka is a large island off the southeast coast of India. At the time of the Gallup poll, there had been a state of emergency declared across the country due to a number of violent uprisings in February and March of 2018. That aside, the country is usually a very safe place to travel, with nearly zero violent crime reported against tourists. Sri Lanka serves up stunning beaches, ancient temples, and untouched rainforests. Just don’t drink the water.


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cowins // Pixabay

#37. New Zealand (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

It’s no wonder that New Zealand is considered one of the safest places in the world: The population is tiny and there are six sheep to every citizen. Thanks to its sparsely occupied nature, the countryside is wide open—you can find some of the epic vistas that were featured in “Lord of the Rings” and “The Last Samurai.”


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NakNakNak // Pixabay

#37. Estonia (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

Since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia has thrived in every way. Not only is it one of the most wired countries in the world, it’s had nearly nonstop economic growth and is considered to be one of the least corrupt of the former eastern bloc. For travelers, check out the capital of Tallinn, full of Medieval architecture and completely free public transportation.


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DEZALB // Pixabay

#37. Laos (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

Just because it’s the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of water activities for travelers in Laos. Tourists of all stripes flock to the Nam Song River around the town of Vang Vieng to kayak, go tubing, and enjoy a local beverage or two as they float along the water. Laos is also known for its beautiful temples, colorful open markets, and unspoiled countryside. Like other Southeast Asian countries, it’s smart to stay on the paths, as unexploded landmines and bombs remain from the Vietnam War.


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oledoe // Flickr

#37. Rwanda (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

As long as you steer clear of its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, your traveling experience in Rwanda should be relatively safe and easy. With its darkest chapter behind it, the country is now known for its array of wildlifemountain gorillas, lions, elephants, and more—and friendly locals eager to help tourists. Insect repellent is recommended for daily use, as malaria and yellow fever are widespread.


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BeJan // Pixabay

#37. Slovakia (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

Slovakia is a landlocked European country surrounded by Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Ukraine, and Poland, and is considered one of the safest countries to visit in Europe. The country is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the largest numbers of castles and chateaus per capita, and more than 6,000 caves for spelunking enthusiasts. The capital, Bratislava, shares a border with Hungary and Austria.


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kirkandmimi // Pixabay

#37. Belgium (tie)

Law and order index score: 83

This country is so much more than chocolate, waffles, and beer—though you’d be missing out on the best chocolate, waffles, and beer in the world if you didn’t partake. Beyond the recent terrorist incidents, Belgium has one of the lowest crime rates on the continent. Electronic music lovers also have a lot to love and tend to flock en masse to Tomorrowland, one of the biggest festivals on the planet.


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Moyan Brenn // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Czech Republic (tie)

Law and order index score: 84

Is it Czech Republic or Czechia? That’s still up for debate. What’s clear is that this country, especially its capital Prague, is filled with stunning architecture, a long history, and rich culinary traditions. Like any country with masses of tourists, you’ll find pickpockets and petty theft, but generally speaking, Czechia is one of the safest places to travel in Europe. For beer-lovers, visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Plzeň. You can enjoy a guided tour and free suds for about $10.


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Sommerland // Pixabay

#32. Sweden (tie)

Law and order index score: 84

Crime is incredibly rare in this Scandinavian country, and there are thousands of other reasons to visit. There are 221,831 islands in Sweden and during the warm months, island-hopping is a favorite activity for Swedes across the country. When it’s not warm, check out the museums in Stockholm, from the Vasa Museum—which houses an intact warship from the 17th century—to the ABBA Museum.


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Eric Chan // Wikimedia Commons

#32. France (tie)

Law and order index score: 84

wave of terrorism and immigration issues in France has dominated the news of late, but these rare problems shouldn’t be a deterrent for traveling to the land of romance, champagne, and cheese. Street crime across the country is low and traversing the country by car, train, or plane is typically a hassle-free experience. This is a good thing, because hitting France’s wine, cheese, and champagne regions is a must-do when visiting.


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12019 // Pixabay

#32. United States (tie)

Law and order index score: 84

Gun violence aside, but possibly worth considering, the United States is a large country with a wide range of safe and less-safe spots to visit. Generally speaking, and in comparison to other countries on this list, crime is on the lower side across the country, but visitors should always exercise caution in major cities and tourist spots when it comes to petty theft. Whether you’re in New York, California, Colorado, or Florida, there’s no shortage of dazzling cities, enormous national parks, and amazing food to tempt visitors year-round.


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tingyaoh // Pixabay

#32. Taiwan (tie)

Law and order index score: 84

Although China claims Taiwan under its “One China” principle, Taiwan maintains its independence with its own democratically elected government, a military, and a robust economy. Putting geopolitics in the background, Taiwan is a nearly crime-free country with a famously good culinary scene, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and ancient temples all worth exploring.


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The Central Intelligence Agency // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Azerbaijan (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

Known as the land of fire, for a natural gas-fed fire that never goes out—Azerbaijan is a country of contradictions. It’s both Islamic and secular, oil-rich and cash-poor, has beautiful, unique architecture and slums. There’s an entire city built on the stilts of oil rigs in the Caspian Sea. Safety-wise visitors won’t have much of a problem outside the usual scam artists that prey on unsuspecting tourists.


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Mattia Felice Palermo // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Spain (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

From a safety perspective, travelers won’t have many issues in Spain, with one major exception: Petty crime, pickpockets, and scam artists are a major problem in tourist spots around the country. Being generally aware of your surroundings, avoiding crowded areas, and zipping up your belongings are the best deterrents and will allow you to bask in Basque, summer in San Bastion, and tackle all of the tapas without any problems.


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Bytemarks // Flickr

#25. Japan (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

Even though it’s not topping the list, there are few places on the planet where you’ll feel safer by day or night in both cities and the countryside. With some logical laws and customs, it’s easy to understand how Japan runs such a tight ship. It’s not crime-free, and you should avoid certain Red Light Districts in Tokyo for that reason. Japan has an unparalleled food culture, immaculate gardens and temples, and some of the friendliest people on the planet.


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Kalpak Travel // Flickr

#25. Tajikistan (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

The highlight of Tajikistan might be traveling along the Pamir Highway, one of the highest roads in the world, dotted with spas and saunas, unpaved tracks, exotic markets, and unbeatable vistas. The lowlights are more numerous: a scarcity of potable water, scam artists, and petty crime. But if you’re willing to look past the dated infrastructure, minor terrorist skirmishes, and unmarked landmines, you’ll discover a country that is wholly unique, with a rich history and culture.


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Glavo // Pixabay

#25. India (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

India is massive, and to attempt to boil down the entire country’s safety scores would be difficult. But to make some generalizations, India rates high on safety indexes because of a lack of crime, especially when it concerns solo female travelers. Sure, cities are polluted and crowded, and petty crime exists, but get away from the metropolises and you’ll discover a countryside that’s awash in color and filled with unique wildlife. Its geography includes mountains, rainforests, deserts, and deltas. Take logical precautions, avoid local scam artists, and take in the wonders.


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#25. Myanmar (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

Myanmar was shrouded in mystery until recently, when the government opened up the borders to travelers. Dotting the country are thousands of temples, with a mass concentration of at least 1,000 in Bagan alone. It’s safe to travel—though maybe not ethical as questions of where tourism money is going arises. There are places to avoid, especially in Rakhine state where the government has been accused of perpetrating a genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority.


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ArcCan // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Germany (tie)

Law and order index score: 85

Germany is arguably the most prosperous country in Europe, known for a fair few 'best-ofs' especially when it comes to cars, food, beer, castles, and partying. As far as crime is concerned, Germany is one of the safest places on the continent, and has actually seen a drop in overall crime despite the influx of refugees pouring in from war-torn regions in the Middle East and Northern Africa.


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Myrtle26 // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Ireland (tie)

Law and order index score: 86

While crime is relatively low in this island oasis, petty crime like theft is still something to look out for when visiting tourist-oriented areas. Once you mind your money, delve deep into the country’s cuisine, castles, Guinness, and music that are wholly unique to the Emerald Isle. Some can’t-miss highlights include the Old Library in Trinity College, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone.


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12019 // Pixabay

#20. United Kingdom (tie)

Law and order index score: 86

The UK consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and while each country is unique, what is common among them is their low rate of crime. Though an uptick in crime of late is important to heed, traveling to all areas of the UK shouldn’t be discouraged. Just hitting the main cities of Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and London could fill any travelogue for weeks.


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koomaros // Pixabay

#20. Jordan (tie)

Law and order index score: 86

While many areas of the Middle East are shrouded in war, poverty, and crime, Jordan is a bastion of modernity and safety ushered along by its monarch, Abdullah II. Traveling to Jordan is filled with ancient wonders and unique geography. The city of Petra is its crown jewel: rock-hewn temples stretch across miles of desert that was once home to an ancient civilization dating back 2,000 years.


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Berit Watkin // Fickr

#20. Malta (tie)

Law and order index score: 86

The small island of Malta in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is actually part of an archipelago that consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Known as a relatively crime-free country, the biggest issues tend to gravitate to late-night spots involving too much drinking. A former British colony, Malta has been independent since 1964 and is known for unique cuisine and a history that dates back 5,000 years.


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Arbenllapashtica // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Kosovo (tie)

Law and order index score: 86

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo also shares a border with Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro, and the majority of its people speak Albanian. From a safety standpoint, petty street crime is the main issue for tourists. Check out the capital city of Pristina for a mix of Soviet Era and modern architecture, or venture into the countryside where the skiing in Bjeshkët e Sharrit Mountains rivals the slopes of Austria and Italy for a fraction of the price.


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Levan Gokade // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Georgia (tie)

Law and order index score: 87

Not only is Georgia a safe place to travel, it also happens to be the birthplace of wine, where it’s been fermenting for more than 8,000 years. Some additional fun facts about Georgia: It’s home to a unique language not anywhere else, two ancient European cities dating back 3,000 years, and one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.


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Rui Bittencourt // Flickr

#17. Portugal (tie)

Law and order index score: 87

One of the hottest tourist destinations of the last few years, Portugal can owe its mini-renaissance to a favorable climate, famously delicious cuisine, unbeatable wine, and safe cities and towns across the country. Charming destinations dot the coastline, and tourists should take advantage of seaside cities Porto and Lisbon for the eye-catching architecture and inexpensive lifestyle.


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Amustard // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Turkmenistan (tie)

Law and order index score: 87

Based on Gallup’s four criteria for safety, Turkmenistan ranks high on this list. What it leaves out, however, is that “homosexual conduct is a criminal offense,” torture is widespread, freedom of the press is limited, and elections have dubious outcomes. Despite living under dictatorial rule, you can still walk around after dark without feeling threatened.


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yeowatzup // Flickr

#10. Denmark (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

Home to LEGO, Noma—the world’s best restaurant, hygge, and one of the happiest populations on earth, it’s not that surprising that Denmark is also one of the safest countries in the world. Denmark is a country built on water, and includes 406 islands and countless canals and waterways. Other great highlights include Elsinore Castle from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” and Ragnarock Museum for pop and rock music.


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NaNaWe //Pixabay

#10. Slovenia (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

Sitting at the crossroads of central, eastern and western Europe, Slovenia shares a border with Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. Known as one of the safest countries in the world, Slovenia is a mixed bag that combines its customs, culture, food, and languages with those of its neighbors. Spelunking fans will love it here, as there are more than 10,000 underground caves to explore. It’s also home to the picturesque Lake Bled, warmed from thermal springs underground.


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Cayambe // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Luxembourg (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

Luxembourg has the distinction of being the fourth-smallest country in Europe, and it also boasts an uncommonly low crime rate. A major financial hub, Luxembourg has one of the highest per capita gross domestic products in the world. For tourists who come for the architecture, there are countless castles worth visiting and a capital city that is full of medieval design.


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chensiyuan // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Austria (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

If you’ve watched “The Sound of Music” you have a pretty good idea of what the mountains of Austria look like. Besides having the a picturesque countryside and a low crime rate, Austria is also known for 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a booming ski industry, world-class culture and music, and idyllic towns that are straight from fairy tale books—have you seen Salzburg?


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Keith Roper // Flickr

#10. China (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

With 1.4 billion people and growing, one could expect China would have a serious crime problem. But not only is crime in China low, the authoritarian government has the ability to launch full-scale war against organized crime groups and routinely subject criminals to draconian punishments as deterrents. Just make sure you stay on the good side of government while enjoying your vacation.


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faungg's photos // Flickr

#10. Netherlands (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

Frequently in the top 10 for the world’s happiest countries, the Netherlands is a relatively safe and secure country. The country is also one of the most fit, as cycling is just as common a mode of transport as cars. Visitors should be aware of the country's views on drugs and prostitution: The sale and use of drugs like cannabis and mushrooms are allowed, and prostitution is a legal industry. 

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shadyshaker // Pixabay

#10. Egypt (tie)

Law and order index score: 88

One of the most-visited places on earth, Egypt is also a country with strict codes of conduct. Public displays of affection and physical conduct with the opposite sex—including shaking hands—is not acceptable. This ancient locale has a long list of cultural and historical attractions, including the Pyramids of Giza, one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 


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Bart Speelman // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Indonesia

Law and order index score: 89

Indonesia is an enigma as it is part of an archipelago with more than 18,000 islands, so it’s impossible to pigeonhole the entire country on a safety index. There are beautiful, safe, and secure areas like Bali and sprawling metropolises that rank low on security indexes, like Jakarta. There are also parts of the country like Aceh, where civil wars have broken out in recent years. Overall, the country has many zero-tolerance policies concerning drugs and petty crimes that act as general deterrents across the board.


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mjarass // Pixabay

#7. Switzerland (tie)

Law and order index score: 90

Breathtaking mountains, gilded cities, mouthwatering chocolate, aromatic cheese, and ornate watches are all Swiss staples. And so is a crime rate so low that it barely registers. Also known for its incessant neutrality, Switzerland is a bastion of peace and stability on a continent with a long history of war. Finally, Switzerland has one of the most progressive drug policies in the world, which has slashed usage and death rates.


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Luciano // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Canada (tie)

Law and order index score: 90

Canada has a population of about 36 million people and boasts one of the lowest crime rates on the planet. There are plenty of reasons why the crime rate is low here, but it might have more to do with a citizenry that is considered the most educated in the world. Canada also has the longest coastline in the world at 152,100 miles, more lakes than any other country, and is the second-largest country on the planet after Russia.


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Fabio Achilli // flickr

#5. Uzbekistan (tie)

Law and order index score: 91

Only recently has Uzbekistan begun to distance itself from police state status. Of course, police states generally mean it’s safe to travel as long as you follow the rules. Avoid any public displays of affection and adhere to other cultural customs, and you should be fine. Steer clear of the borders—landmines remain underground from past conflicts and narco-terrorists are known to conduct operations along the country’s border with Afghanistan. For those interested in checking out rebuilt cities from the ancient silk road—this is the spot for you.


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Ron Reiring // Flickr

#5. Hong Kong (tie)

Law and order index score: 91

Hong Kong is an awe-inspiring city along a bay and an architect’s dream. There are more than 7,000 high-rise buildings in the city, and at night the megalopolis is stunning lit up. Hong Kong is incredibly safe, due to a robust and omnipresent police force. The most you’ll encounter is petty theft and robberies, which shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that nearly 6% of the population consists of millionaires.


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Paul // Flickr

#2. Norway (tie)

Law and order index score: 93

Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway is consistently on the top of lists for happiness and low crime, and scores top marks for highly educated countries as well. The country boasts jaw-dropping fjords, thousands of lakes, and the world’s longest road tunnel, which is not for the claustrophobic. Finding time to visit the more than 240,000 islands should also be on your itinerary.


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Berit // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Iceland (tie)

Law and order index score: 93

Iceland is a small island with a massive amount of volcanic activity that makes for incredible natural hot springs throughout the country. Besides being one of the happiest countries, there’s also a lack of crime. It has no military, its police force doesn’t carry guns, and its gay rights are among the best in the world.

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12019 // Pixabay

#2. Finland (tie)

Law and order index score: 93

Similar to its Scandinavian counterparts, Finland scores highly on education, low crime, and happiness indexes. The country is also among the least-corrupt in the world and has the most saunas per capita, as well as the heaviest coffee consumption. Finland’s geography is mesmerizing with more than 100,000 lakes and 40,000 islands to explore, while also offering beautiful views of the Aurora Borealis.


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Nicolas Lannuzel // flickr

#1. Singapore

Law and order index score: 97

Coming in at the #1 spot for safety, Singapore is so crime-free that the number of days the police force reports without crime can reach into triple digits. When a crime is committed, Singapore has tens of thousands of street cameras that record everything in the city. That may sound creepy to some, but it’s a level of safety that inevitably lands this extra-secure country at the top of the list.


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