RiskMap 2018

Political violence and crime rise across the world in 2017

  • Global
Political violence and crime rise across the world in 2017


  • Control Risks recorded 38,523 political violence and crime incidents worldwide in 2017, an increase of nearly 17% from 2016

  • Incidents in Europe: up 63% | Asia Pacific: up 51% | Africa: up 39% | Americas: up 26%

  • The Middle East and North Africa remained the region most affected by violence, but saw an overall reduction in incidents of 20%

  • The number of terrorism-related incidents attributed to Islamist extremists remained stable in Europe and the US, but fell sharply – by 27% – in the Middle East and North Africa

The outlook for 2018?

Geopolitical developments will continue to influence the pattern and nature of political violence events in 2018.

The frequency of war-related incidents is likely to remain high, as conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen continue. Conflict risks have also increased in parts of the Middle East and East Asia, as a general consequence of geopolitical competition and specifically because of the elevated threat of accident or miscalculation involving military and paramilitary forces operating in close proximity.

The global number of terrorism-related incidents, however, is likely to continue to decline after the military defeat of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria during 2017. That said, IS and its allies will remain significant threats in multiple regions, both directly and through incitement and motivation of home-grown terrorism. In addition, the overall terrorism threat environment is likely to continue to diversify in terms of motivations, targets and tactics. The overlap between criminal and militant networks, and between personal grievance and ideological extremism, is likely to make the terrorism threat less predictable in many countries.

A strong global economy – and improved growth prospects in many developing and emerging markets – will help limit any increase in civil unrest-related incidents. But rising inflation (partly a consequence of higher food and energy prices), pivotal elections and political transitions, along with contentious reform efforts, will continue to mobilise street activism.

Even as cybercrime continues to increase in scale, scope and sophistication, traditional violent and organised crime will still pose a threat to business in 2018. Violent competition over drug trafficking will persist in Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. Rising commodity prices could renew threats such as metal theft, oil bunkering and maritime piracy. Fragile states and ungoverned spaces – especially in West and North Africa – will continue to provide safe havens for groups involved in human and weapons trafficking.

What were the political violence and crime trends in 2017?
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