Fewer Feel Safe in Several Arab Spring Countries

ABU DHABI -- Residents in several Arab countries affected by uprisings feel less safe now than they did before those uprisings took place. Egyptians feel the least secure, with the percentage who say they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they live dropping to 47% in 2011 from 82% in 2010. Perceived safety also decreased substantially over the same period in Tunisia and Bahrain, while differences in attitudes in Yemen are not significant.

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These declines are not necessarily relative to the actual increases in violence or crime in the countries. Gallup previously found that in Egypt, for example, media consumption can affect perceptions of safety.

The uprisings in these four countries in 2011 resulted in different outcomes. In Egypt, the uprising led to long-time ruler President Hosni Mubarak's resignation. In Tunisia, former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's regime was dismantled. In both countries, this also led to the security services, including the police forces, losing much of their former power.

The upheaval in Yemen is leading to a transition from President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule to the election of a new president. The presence of arms among Yemeni civilians is often common, perhaps explaining why their safety perceptions did not change from 2010 to 2011 -- it was also already lower to begin with. Despite ongoing protests calling for a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain, the country's ruling elite still remain in power. In Bahrain, the intervention of other Gulf countries into the country and the engagement of Bahraini security forces in neutralizing protests was likely striking to a large number of Bahraini civilians, thereby possibly affecting their perceptions of safety....

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