Baghdad, Damascus, Karachi and Nairobi were among the lowest-ranking cities for personal safety in last year's Mercer survey. InterNations also produced details from their Expat Insider survey that showed the bottom 10 countries for expats were: Kuwait, Greece, Nigeria, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mozambique, Qatar, Italy and Tanzania.

However, in this article in The Economist, the results pointed at Latin America. It noted that of the 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in the world last year, 43 were in Latin America. And eight of the 10 countries with the highest homicide rates were in the region. 

The article focuses on data from the Igarapé Institute, an independent think tank devoted to evidence-based policy and action on complex security, justice and development challenges in Brazil, Latin America and Africa. The group looks at citizen security issues, drug policies, cyber security, fragility of cities and conflict/violence monitoring. They have produced multiple digital apps that take big data and allow users to see patterns and make predictions related to crime risks, explore fragile city issues, consider security elements in specific countries and cities, monitor homicide rates, evaluate child security elements and map arms data.

The most dangerous locations from their data did not change much over the past few years with San Salvador, Acapulco and San Pedro Sula remaining the most dangerous cities. By country, the top 10 most dangerous are: El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Guatemala, South Africa, United States, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.

To improve the level of safety in your global mobility program, consider these three items:

  • Evaluate the types of risks that exist in the locations you are sending talent - consider health, physical safety and security issues and cultural knowledge needed.
  • Incorporate tools and partnerships that can help create awareness, educate stakeholders and assess risk.
  • Leverage technology and reporting for real-time information and monitoring, and have procedures to mobilize quickly if/when something does happen.

As a company, there is an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees. The goal should be to actively protect employees from foreseeable injury or danger. Ultimately, when considering the duty of care for your mobility population, you should seek to deliver a continuum of care from pre-trip, through the assignment and ending with repatriation.