A list of the top 50 Safest Cities in the World features no fewer than 4 Southeast Asian cities. Singapore came in 2nd place, only beaten by Tokyo. Bangkok was in at number 39, Ho Chi Minh City at 48 and Jakarta just made it in at number 50.
Singapore is no surprise of course. It prides itself on law and order and public behaviour and in the personal safety category it finished top. Still 2nd only to Tokyo is extremely impressive and as the city re-invents itself into the modern playground that it now is, this will be viewed as very positive news.
For Ho Chi Minh City this will be seen as great news and a terrific boost for tourism. Visitor numbers and tourism revenues hit an all time high this year,. The City’s tourism chiefs will be encouraged by the news that it is in the list of the top 50 Safest Cities in the World. Tourism numbers are very encouraging, 410,000 International visitors visited the city in the last month alone; a rise of 8%. They spent a record $363 million, up 7% on last years figures. It is expected that almost 5 million tourists will arrive in Vietnam’s largest city in 2015.
Jakarta’s highest ranking came in the personal safety category, where it finished in 34th place.
The official metropolitan Jakarta region is known as Jabodetabek and is the second largest urban agglomeration in the World. It has done well to make this list, with the largest population coupled with the lowest GDP, it is genuinely taking on the more developed and richer cities in the world.
The list of the world’s safest cities was compiled buy the British journal The Economist. The Economist Intelligence Unit Report is an extremely thorough study, using in excess of 40 quantitative and qualitative indicators. The four categories are: Digital Security, Health Security, Infrastructure Safety and Personal Safety. The 4 Southeast Asian Cities achieved a varying measure of success in each category.
Digital Security: Singapore 2nd, Ho Chi Minh 42nd, Bangkok 45th and Jakarta 48th
Health Security: Singapore 12th, Bangkok 35th, Jakarta 44th and Ho Chi Minh 48th
Infrastructure Safety: Singapore 7th, Bangkok 42nd, Jakarta 48th and Ho Chi Minh 50th
Personal Safety: Singapore 1st, Bangkok 26th, Ho Chi Minh 34th and Jakarta 45th
It is especially rewarding for the lower income ranked cities to feature. Ho Chi Minh and Jakarta rank among the lowest income section of this list with a GDP per capita of less than $10,000. This section only has 4 cities representing it. It is very noticeable that the top 25 on the list ALL come from High or Upper-Middle Income groups.
There is no doubt that this is a major coup for Southeast Asia. To be represented by the same number of cities as the USA in the list is impressive. New York, Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Chicago being America’s representatives. It is also interesting that ranking highly as a safe city is no guarantee that the residents will ‘feel’ safe. The prevalence of gated communities in certain countries was designed to make people feel safe. Ironically there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the opposite happens. A 2013 study of gated communities in South Africa found that moving to these residences actually increased the risk of burglary. This presents a challenge for those charged with the development of the World’s great cities. A fortress mentality doesn’t create a liveable and safe urban environment. This fact is even more so when you consider that the Internet world knows no boundaries.
If nothing else this report should at least point to the fact that the great cities of Southeast Asia are moving in the right direction when it comes to the safety of its residents and visitors. Hopefully we will soon be celebrating even more Southeast Asian cities joining the list of top 50 Safest Cities in the World.