Singapore retains its position as the second safest city in the world, according to the Safe Cities Index 2019 report by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU). Sponsored by the NEC Corporation, the report released on 29 August showed that Tokyo was the safest city overall, with Asia-Pacific cities making up 6 of the top 10. Other cities in the top ten include Osaka (3rd), Amsterdam (4th), Sydney (5th), Toronto (6th), Washington, DC (7th), Seoul and Copenhagen (tied 8th) and Melbourne (10th).
The index ranks 60 cities based on 57 indicators across four pillars: digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security.
Singapore is ranked second behind Tokyo in Digital Security but takes the lead in both Infrastructure and Personal Security. As for Health security, Singapore ranked 8th.
While Asia Pacific cities make up the top 10 overall cities, the report emphasises that geographic reasons do not have a statistical link with the results.
“A closer look at the important correlates of security, discussed below, found city safety is not related to the global region: Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka lead because of their specific strengths, not because they happen to be in Asia.”
Said EIU senior editor Naka Kondo, editor of this year’s report on the Safe Cities Index, “Although APAC cities such as Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka continue to rank within the top three cities in the Index, the region also hosts some of the lowest-scoring cities in the world, with Yangon, Karachi and Dhaka close to the bottom of the list.”
She also added that while cities in Asia-Pacific did well in the pillars of health, infrastructure and personal security, North American cities fared better in the digital security category, accounting for seven out of the 10 cities in the lead.
The report noted that wealth and transparency are important determinants of safety. It said, “Every previous SCI report has remarked that cities in high-income countries do better on average than those in lower-income states,” adding that overall SCI results correlate closely with income per person in cities.
The fact that higher-income countries performed better across the board is a result of the need for substantial investment in certain areas such as high-quality infrastructure and advanced health systems.
However, the report also goes on to reveal that in cities where funds are scarcer, so too is policy ambition. It appears that less economically developed cities are challenged by a lack of effective planning and management.
The report highlighted that a city’s score in the different pillars are closely related, demonstrating just how closely different kinds of safety are ‘intertwined’.
“A look at the overall standings shows that the ranking of any given city in a particular pillar tends not to vary greatly from its ranking in other pillars,” it said.
The report noted that the results are not evenly spread but have a large number of cities clustered at the top, with the others showing more variation in scores. Only 10 points separate the top 24 cities in the overall scores, while the following 36 cities are over 40 points apart.
However, the report stressed, “This does not mean that the differences in the leaders’ group are unimportant. Instead, on a scale that can measure every index city, the large group of top cities are much more similar to each other than to those lagging behind.”
The SCI is released every two years. In 2017 and 2015, Singapore ranked 2nd.