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One in 10 people in Belgium say they frequently feel unsafe

17:07 03/01/2023

Nearly 10% of people living in Belgium say they often feel unsafe in the country, according to the 2021 edition of the Security Monitor by federal police.

“The Security Monitor is an important tool for obtaining information on victimisation, reporting behaviour and various security-related topics, such as possible neighbourhood problems, feelings of insecurity and satisfaction with police work in Belgium,” the federal police said.

“Through a large-scale survey of the Belgian population, citizens have the opportunity to express their opinion and thus have a say in security policy.”

About 400,000 Belgians aged 15 and older were polled for the survey, with a response rate of 25%.

While 62% of respondents say they feel safe all or almost all the time, 29% of them sometimes feel unsafe and 9% said they often or always feel unsafe.

Feelings of unsafety were more common in respondents who were victims of violent acts in the past.

Unsafe feelings were also exacerbated (14%) among respondents in the lowest age bracket (15-24 years) and in the category of unemployed and jobseekers.

Overall, feelings of safety have decreased when compared to 2018, the last year the survey was conducted prior to the start of the pandemic. Then, just 6% of respondents reported feeling unsafe "often or always".

The Security Monitor suggests this could be attributed to the reinforced security measures put in place at the time in the context of the terrorist threat.

The survey also measures "avoidance behaviour". In the most recent edition, 39% of respondents said they do not open their door to strangers.

Almost one in five (19%) avoid leaving their home after dark and 13% avoid certain places in their community.

The full report can be found in both French and Dutch on the official website of the federal police.

Written by Helen Lyons