Tokyo, Singapore remain top 2 safest cities in the world

Photo by Cory Schadt

Tokyo and Singapore again come first and second overall in the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Safest Cities Index (SCI), sponsored by NEC Corp.

In the 2019 edition of the biennial report, Asia-Pacific cities make up six of the top 10 among 60 countries covered, although EIU says geographic region does not have a statistical link with results.

“A closer look at the important correlates of security, discussed below, found city safety is not related to global region,” the repost said. “Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka lead because of their specific strengths, not because they happen to be in Asia.”

SCI indicators were divided into four distinct pillars: digital, infrastructure, health and personal security. The 2019 version benefits from a major revision designed to better measure “urban resilience” —the ability of cities to absorb and bounce back from shocks.

With respect to the four pillars, Singapore topped the list in terms of infrastructure security and personal security. It ranked second after Tokyo in terms of digital security and 8th in terms of health security.

Digital security covers indicators that include privacy policy, citizen awareness of digital threats, public-private partnerships, level of technology employed, and dedicated cyber-security teams.

“Despite having many elements, city safety is indivisible,” the report added. “The different kinds of security covered by the index require distinct interventions, often by different agencies or actors, such as health systems for medical care and police for public order.”

SCI 2019 results shows that performance in each of the pillars correlates very closely with that in every other. In short, cities tend to do well, middling or poorly across every security pillar rather than having good results in one and lagging in others.

Service planning and provision must take this into account. Technological investments for infrastructure, for example, can bring health benefits, while enhanced cyber-security will protect the ability of the city to provide every kind of security, not just protection of digital systems.