Nearshore Americas

Revision: Nicaragua’s Safety Numbers – A Second Look

It has come to the attention of Nearshore Americas that some of the data in the news brief “UN Report: Nicaragua the Second Safest Country in Latin America” published 11/25/13 may have been misleading.

Citing data circulated in a press release by PRONicaragua based on “Citizen Security,” a recent study by the United Nations’ human development agency, UNDP, the news brief stated that Chile was “the safest country in all of Latin America, closely followed by Nicaragua and Paraguay.”

However, the UNDP report, available in full in Spanish, or as an executive summary in English, actually shows that both Chile and Uruguay have lower homicide rates than Nicaragua, while the homicide rate in neighboring Costa Rica is approximately equal to that of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is ranked among the countries with the lowest homicide rates, which also include Argentina and Bolivia – but not Paraguay – but the year of the latest available data differs from country to country, rendering a direct, up-to-date comparison impossible.

PRONicaragua cites an “overall Security Index” in which Chile is ranked as the safest country in Latin America, followed by Nicaragua and Paraguay, but Nearshore Americas has been unable to verify this in either the English or Spanish releases of the UNDP report.

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Duncan Tucker


  • I have reason to believe that the costa rican homicide rate deserves a second look. Nicaragua is far far safer than Costa Rica.

  • I doubt Nicaragua’s safety. I know from personal experience that much crime is simply not reported because locals know nothing will be done about it. Police routinely ask victims for “gas money”, claiming they don’t have the money to follow up. It’s code for a bribe and often does not result in anything being done, even if they get paid “gas money.”