Personal safety is a critical dimension of regional well-being. Crime in fact has not only a direct impact on the victims and their families, but also on those who are not victims but live in the same community, as shown by the increasing feelings of insecurity and low trust in the capacity of national and local institutions to handle the safety issue (OECD, 2015). Safety is often connected with other well-being outcomes such as education, health and jobs. Consequently, policies pursuing better safety often build on the complementarities with the other dimensions (OECD, 2014).

Mexico has the highest homicide rate as well as the highest regional variation among OECD countries. In 2013, the state of Guerrero (Mexico) had almost 65 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, while in Yucatan (Mexico) there were 2.4 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants (Figure 1.19). Large regional differences in homicides rates are also observed in the United States and Canada, the regional difference is around 15 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, due to the high incidence of homicides compared to the rest of the country in the District of Columbia and Nunavut, respectively. Among the countries with the lowest homicide rates are Austria (0.6), Iceland (0.3) and Spain (0.6), where differences between top and bottom regions are on average also relatively low.

The theft of private property has a negative effect on people’s well-being. It reduces household wealth, increases the costs associated with robbery prevention, and increases people’s perception of insecurity. Moreover, high levels of private property theft might be an indirect measure of low social cohesion in a region. Finally, since this type of crime is commonly reported for insurances claims, it also overcomes common issues of bias of statistics on property crimes due to different regional propensity to report the crime.

In 2014, the OECD countries showing the largest regional disparities for car thefts were Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and France (Figure 1.20). In Baja California (Mexico), Ceuta (Spain) and Bratislava (Slovak Republic), the rate of car theft was at least three times higher than the national average. Among the non-OECD countries, in the region Ucayali (Peru) the rate of car theft was eight times higher than for the country as a whole, and in Sakhalin Oblast (Russian Federation) almost four times higher (Figure 1.20).


Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, more explicitly intentional murder. Reported homicides are the number of homicides reported to the police. The homicide rate is the number of reported homicides per 100 000 inhabitants.

Motor vehicle theft is defined as the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle that runs on land surfaces and not on rails.


OECD (2015), OECD Regional Statistics (database),

See Annex B for data sources and country-related metadata.

Reference years and territorial level

2014; TL2.

Homicides: No regional data are available for Luxembourg.

Car thefts: No regional data are available for Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Further information

OECD (2015), Measuring Well-being in Mexican States, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014), How’s Life in Your Region?: Measuring Regional and Local Well-being for Policy Making, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD Regional Well-Being:

Figure notes

 1.19: 2014 data for Mexico, 2012 data for Canada, Chile, France, Iceland, Netherlands and Slovenia; 2011 data for Poland; 2010 data for Germany.

 1.20: Japan, New Zealand and Sweden 2014; France and Slovenia 2012; Canada, Ireland, Mexico and Poland 2011. Each observation (point) represents a TL2 region of the countries shown in the horizontal axis.

Information on data for Israel:

1.19. Regional variation in homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, 2013 

1.20. Regional range in reported car thefts per 10 000 inhabitants, 2013