Investors 'avoid high crime areas'

Fear of crime is driving investment away from cities in developing countries, where more than half of all urban residents have been victims in the past five years, a United Nations (UN) report warned on Monday.

Fear of crime is driving investment away from cities in developing countries, where more than half of all urban residents have been victims in the past five years, a United Nations (UN) report warned on Monday.

About 60percent of urban dwellers in developing countries have been targeted, and more than half of urban dwellers in both rich and poor countries worry about crime "all the time" or "very often", said the UN agency for human settlement, known as Habitat.

Crime is worst in Latin America and Africa, where some areas had rates affecting 70percent of city residents, Habitat said.

The world's highest robbery rates are in South America, whose largest city, Sao Paulo, was singled out for having 1percent of the planet's homicides even though the 18million residents make up just 0,17percent of the global population, according to Habitat's report on urban safety.

"Urban violence and crime are increasing worldwide, giving rise to widespread fear and driving away investment in many cities," said the UN's chief Ban Ki-moon.

More than half of the world's people already live in urban centres, 1billion of them in slums.

By 2050, two-thirds of humanity will live in towns and cities.

Ban warned that riots in Paris and terrorist attacks in London and Madrid showed that rich countries were not exempt.

He said poverty, insecurity of land holdings, social exclusion, poor planning and corruption contributed to crime.

Crime hurt the poor most, the report said. -- AP

X