Safety – How has Iceland managed to get things so right?

Last updated: Jul 9th, 2019

According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland ranked the safest place to live out of 163 countries, with the United Kingdom only managing 39th place.

You may think this is because of the island’s small population, but the country’s ability to manage the safety of its people can be seen as an art form when you look at the facts. estimates there are approximately 90,000 guns in the country – with a population of just over 300,000 people. That’s incredibly high considering the local police don’t carry firearms. In addition, the country had a significant youth problem in the 90s. This stemmed from excessive alcohol consumption, particularly in densely populated areas such as Reykjavik.

Since then, the country has reduced its number of underage drinkers to just 5% and violent crimes are also non-existent.

So how has Iceland managed to get things so right?


The big success for Iceland is its management of the local youth population


Firstly, the country impose a strict curfew of 10pm for kids. They also make parents agree to a pledge for the behaviour of their children, including the removal of alcohol and ensuring they spend more time with their family.

The other key factor is keeping kids occupied. This encouragement is provided for kids to play sport and embrace outdoor activities. For example, the government provide each child with a $500 voucher for after-school sports and invest $100 million in youth activities each year.

These investments and strategies are also based on science. Each child fills out a survey each year which is based around their lives, substance use and relations to friends and family. This then provides the data needed to reduce substance abuse and improve the quality of life of youth within the country.


No economic classes


With no economic classes comes minimal strain between the rich and poor. Only 1.1% of participants identified themselves as upper class, while 1.5% saw themselves as lower class. The remaining 97% identified themselves as upper-middle class, lower-middle class or working class. Seemingly, the country’s strong sense of equality is one of the biggest factors in Iceland’s lack of crime and peaceful foundations.


Lack of violence


Despite ranking 15th in terms of gun ownership, the country has virtually no violent crimes, a murder rate 0-1 per year and a very small occurrence of low-level petty crimes. Therefore, unsurprisingly, the police don’t carry firearms. This is left to a special task force who are only called in serious circumstances. Their ability to stop crime issues before they arise and block issues at the nascent stages is what helps them to keep crime levels at bay.


Your next tour awaits…


All things considered, it can no longer come as a surprise that Iceland continues to be the most peaceful place to live. Showing no sign of change, the country’s focus on the youth population will help to ensure that the peaceful nature of the island is sustained for many decades to come.

Being a safe and peaceful place to live, Iceland is the perfect destination for your next school tour. From capturing your artistic imagination to uncovering its geographical gems, this magical destination appeals to the science, geography and art curriculum’s.


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Click here for our range of school tours to Iceland.