Tokyo keeps its number one spot in The Economist Intelligence Unit report on the safest cities in the world. Behind the Japanese capital are Singapore and Osaka (also in Japan). Madrid and Barcelona are in the top 6 safest in Europe, and the top 15 in the world.
The report analyses 60 large cities in the world and awards points based on a wide selection of variables. These focus on personal safety, access to healthcare, security infrastructure and digital security. Asian and European cities as well as Toronto and Melbourne dominate the top positions while American cities are further down the list despite being cities in a developed country.
Tokyo takes first place in most categories while Barcelona and Madrid lead the board in security infrastructure. This includes security in buildings, bridges and roads along with police forces and other security bodies such as emergency and fire services, and control centres.
Barcelona is one of the cities with the highest rise in the ranking (for the second year in a row), going up seven positions to behind just Istanbul, Melbourne, Chicago and Seoul.
The report highlights that while safety is diminishing in a large number of cities, there are important exceptions to this such as Madrid and Seoul where there have been significant improvements.
The final score also takes into account terrorist attacks that have hit generally safe cities such as London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, which have reduced their final rankings.
The report looks at the importance of cybersecurity in cities and cautions that smart cities are more vulnerable the more they adapt to digitalisation and the internet of things. It highlights how last year a group of hackers blocked ticket machines in the San Francisco metro and asked for a ransom in bitcoins.
The report claims that with the increase in the number of smart cities, security can get worse rather than better. Cyber initiatives and dedicating resources and training to this are therefore important. When it comes to digital security, American cities, generally at the tail end of the ranking for developed nations, score higher as is the case with Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
At the bottom of the safety table are Middle Eastern and Asian cities such as Dacca (Bangladesh), Rangoon (Myanmar), Karachi and El Cairo.