Tokyo Named as the World’s Safest City

by Ray Clancy on February 16, 2015

Tokyo is the safest city in the world to live while Jakarta is at the bottom of an international index of 50 cities.

Tokyo tops the overall ranking this year, according to the latest index report from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The world’s most populous city is the safest in the Index. The Japanese capital performs most strongly in the digital security category, three points ahead of Singapore in second place. Meanwhile, Jakarta is at the bottom of the list of 50 cities in the Index. The Indonesian capital only rises out of the bottom five places in the health security category at 44.

Skilled financial workers leaving Japan

Tokyo tops the overall ranking this year, according to the latest index report from the Economist Intelligence Unit

Safety is closely linked to wealth and economic development and a division emerges in the index between cities in developed markets, which tend to fall into the top half of the overall list, and cities in developing markets, which appear in the bottom half.

The report points to significant gaps in safety exist along these lines within regions. Rich Asian cities such as Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka, occupy the top three positions in the index, while poorer neighbours such as Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta, fill two of the bottom three positions.

However, wealth and ample resources are no guarantee of urban safety, the index report points. Four of the five Middle Eastern cities in the index are considered high income, but only one makes it into the top half of the index. For example, at 25 Abu Dhabi is 21 places above Riyadh at number 46.

Similar divides between cities of comparable economic status exist elsewhere. Seoul is 23 positions below Tokyo in the overall ranking and 46 places separate the two on digital security.

US cities perform most strongly in the digital security category, while Europe struggles. New York is the only US city to make it into the top ten of the overall index at 10. However, it is third for digital security, with three of the four other US cities in the index, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, joining it in the top 10. Meanwhile, European cities perform relatively poorly. London, at 16, is the highest-ranking European entry in the digital security index and Rome is the lowest, at 35.

Los Angeles falls from sixth place in digital security to 23rd for personal safety. San Francisco suffers a similar drop, falling from eighth to 21st. ‘For these cities, both home to high tech industries, a focus on technology and cyber security does not seem to be matched by success in combating physical crime. Urban safety initiatives need to straddle the digital and physical realms as the divide between them blurs,’ the report says.

Overall, technology is now on the frontline of urban safety, alongside people. ‘As some cities pursue smarter methods of preventing, rather than simply reacting to these diverse security threats, a lack of data in emerging markets could exacerbate the urban safety divide between rich and poor. Nonetheless, investment in traditional safety methods, such as bolstering police visibility, continues to deliver positive results from Spain to South Africa,’ it explains.

The report points out that now that a growing number of essential systems are interconnected, city experts stress the need to bring together representatives from government, business and the community before threats to safety and security strike.

Some cities have appointed an official to co-ordinate this citywide resilience and the report concludes that with the evolution of online threats transcending geographical boundaries, such co-ordination will increasingly be called for between cities.

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