What goes into an evaluation of whether a city is safe. Crime? Personal liberty? Dangerously dirty air? Bad weather brought on by climate change? The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released its biennial Safe Cities Index, which attempts to answer the question.
The study looks at five factors of security: digital security, health security, infrastructure security, personal security and environmental security. Each of these metrics is measured across 60 cities, with a total possible score of 100. Additionally, each of these is divided into more specific measures, so the total number of factors for the grade cover 76 indicators.
Among the broad factors that affect the ranking is the rise of COVID-19 across the world and its presence in the world’s largest cities. As Fang Zhao, professor of innovation and strategy at Staffordshire Business School, said in the report, “covid-19 has changed the whole concept of urban safety.”
The report is sponsored by the NEC Corporation, which has an unusually visible presence in the EIU study.
Cities were rated on a scale of 0 to 100. Their safety was categorized as very high (75.1 to 100), high (50.1 to 75), medium (25.1 to 50) and low (0 to 25).
All the cities with the lowest ratings were in underdeveloped or emerging nations. The city with the worst rating was Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. Known for its aging infrastructure and poverty, the city has a population of about 5.2 million people. Its health care system is also considered substandard. Myanmar received a score of 39.5. The next worse was Karachi (39.7), the largest city in Pakistan, followed by Caracas (40.5), the capital of Venezuela.
The safest cities are in highly developed nations, including Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain and the United States. The top-rated city, at 82.4, is Copenhagen, followed by Toronto (82.2), Singapore (80.7), Sydney (80.1), Tokyo (80.0), Amsterdam (79.3) and Wellington (79.0). The top-rated U.S. city was New York (77.8).
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