AD57: Call the police? Across Africa, citizens point to police and government performance issues on crime

Welcome to the Afrobarometer publications section. For short, topical analyses, try our briefing papers (for survey rounds 1-5) and dispatches (starting with Round 6). For longer, more technical analyses of policy issues, check our policy papers. Our working papers are full-length analytical pieces developed for publication in academic journals or books. You can also search the entire publications database by keyword(s), language, country, and/or author.

Can't find a document?

As we work to upgrade our website, occasional technical issues may cause some links to break and some documents to be temporarily unavailable. If you're unable to find a specific document, please email

Filter content by:

Pauline M. Wambua

Crime and insecurity are major challenges in African countries, threats to both national development and individual quality of life. According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, which assesses countries’ safety and security as part of national wealth and well-being, only 11 African countries rank in the top 100 countries worldwide in safety and security; the top-ranked African country (Benin) is at No. 50 (Legatum Institute, 2014). The U.S government rates crime in most African countries as either critical or high (U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council, 2015).

This paper examines how Africans themselves perceive the problem, based on data from Afrobarometer surveys in 34 African countries: how safe they feel, whether they report crimes, how easy or difficult they find it to get help from the police, and how they think their governments are performing in fighting crime.

Graph: Reasons why crimes are not reported to the police | 34 countries | 2011/2013

Related dispatch: Citizens' perceptions of crime and safety in Africa.

Click "Download now" below to download our latest dispatch on crime and insecurity in Africa.