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Greg Van Wyk: World’s 50 safest cities – where does yours rank?

According to the recently released list of cities by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore remains as the world’s safest city but is closely followed by Osaka and Tokyo says Greg Van Wyk.

The EIU’s Safe City Index is an annual study that ranks 60 global cities on factors such as digital security, health security, infrastructure safety, and personal safety. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the cities’ relative safety based on data from private and public institutions such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).   

Cities are ranked based on 44 indicators across four categories: Digital Security; Health Security; Infrastructure Safety; Personal Safety. Each category has a different weightage – 15 percent for digital security, 30 percent for health security, 40 percent for infrastructure safety, and 25 percent for personal safety. Each city is given a score out of 100.


The five-tiered ranking system consists of Very Safe, Safe, Caution, Moderately Unsafe and Very Unsafe. While the majority of cities are ranked as ‘Safe’, it’s interesting to note that there are some cities that have been ranked under the ‘Moderately Unsafe’ category due to poor scores in certain factors such as digital security or health security.

Amongst the top 10 safest cities are Singapore, Osaka, Tokyo, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Sydney. Cali in Columbia; Montevideo in Uruguay; and Managua in Nicaragua are cities that have been ranked under the ‘Moderately Unsafe’ category says Greg Van Wyk.  

The five least safe cities are Kyiv, Tehran, Karachi, Douala, Harare, Algiers


According to the report, Cali was rank as having one of the lowest scores when it comes to digital security. In fact, it had a score of just 25.7 out of 100 for this factor alone – indicating that citizens from this city have relatively low security or privacy concerns when using digital channels such as social media or public Wi-Fi networks.  

This is not surprising as Colombia has been witnessing an increase in drug-related violence, especially along the Pacific Coast. The situation further aggravates by the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC rebels. Which got rejection by 51.2 percent of voters in a referendum last year.

This contributes to poor scores for digital security as well as health security – something that citizens from Cali would have to contend with when using mobile devices to access their social media accounts or public Wi-Fi networks.  

On the other hand, cities such as Singapore are rank under the ‘Very Safe’ category. Due to an absence of civil unrest or acts of terrorism that could lead to instability within the city. At the same time, this guarantees a safe environment for citizens to use public Wi-Fi networks as there isn’t any civil unrest that could potentially disrupt the smooth operation of these networks explains Greg Van Wyk.

In addition, digital safety is also high as Singapore has been rank as being among the safest countries in terms of cyber security by the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016/17.  

There you have it – a list of cities around the world ranked according to their relative levels of safety. This article only serves as a general guideline. It should not be use as a substitute for professional advice from security companies or other relevant service providers.

Safest Cities:

  • According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, global business costs for security and insurance purposes are at an all-time high.
  • The safest cities in the world tend to be mid-size cities in developed countries. With low population densities and moderate crime rates. Most of the 50 safest cities have a rating that has stayed steady since 2007 or improved slightly. According to ‘city safety ratings’ compiled by the EIU’s sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit. Which city is number one? That would be Tokyo, which was rank as such last year too. Now onto market insights…
  • Financial media provider The EIU (not related to The Economist magazine) recently published their annual list. “The World’s 50 Safest Cities” – so you can see where your city falls on the scale.
  • The ranking is based on a combined score assessing personal safety and residential risk. And includes typical urban hazards such as petty and violent crime, burglary and fraud. That might be encounter in many cities around the world.
  • Hong Kong is by far Asia’s safest city – boasting a 96% score with No. 12 worldwide, given its low crime rates thanks to zero-tolerance enforcement of laws. Singapore ranks No. 24 globally due to high health risks, lack of infrastructure and natural disasters (earthquakes or tsunamis).

But here’s something interesting:

Single American city made this list! Even Detroit ranked at 36th place among all foreign cities.


Perhaps the following infographic from Royal Cars Rental will be helpful when deciding where to book your next vacation says Greg Van Wyk.

But remember: while some cities offer a low risk of physical harm. This does not mean they are 100% free of cyber-crime. One look at our map on ‘ Top 10 Fraud Capitals in Europe ‘ should make this clear.

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