Life

The world's safest cities

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Do you feel safe living in one of the world's major cities? Or perhaps you're debating a move towards the bright lights?

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has selected 50 prospering cities from across the globe and analyzed which is the safest.

To compile its "Safe Cities Index 2015", the EIU investigated and ranked the locations based on four criteria: health security, digital security, personal safety and infrastructure safety.

While Jakarta (50) and Tehran (49) ranked in the bottom two for safety, here, CNBC takes a look at what cities took the top spots.

- By Alexandra Gibbs, special to CNBC.com


No. 10: New York

Mbbirdy | Getty Images

With 8.4 million New Yorkers, the city does a considerable amount for its health and digital security, which both scored highly on the index.

EIU Cost of Living Editor Jon Copestake said North American cities scored relatively highly when it came to digital safety because they invest in the appropriate infrastructure.

Not only does New York flourish on the digital front, but this metropolis has seen a phenomenal drop in homicides since its "six murders per day" rate in 1990. In 2013, the city's murder rate stood at 335—a historic low.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 3rd
  • Health Security: 2nd
  • Infrastructure Safety: 16th
  • Personal Safety: 28th

No. 9: Melbourne

Luis Ascui | The AGE | fairfax Media via Getty Images

Somewhat smaller than Sydney, this Australian city gained top marks for its infrastructure and personal safety.

In the EIU's "Global Liveability Ranking", Melbourne has come first since 2011.

The report made note of Melbourne's average life expectancy—currently 86 years old—compared to Australia's overall average of 82 years. The average life expectancy of those living in the top 25 cities ranked by the EIU is 81 years.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 20th
  • Health Security: 14th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 2nd
  • Personal Safety: 8th

No. 8: Toronto

Nathan Bergeron Photography | Getty Images

This Canadian city comes top of the EIU's "Index of Indexes," - being named the "best place to live" by the EIU, as it scored well for business environment, food security and democratic structure.

It also has one of the lowest crime rates in North America, with Statistics Canada confirming in 2013 that the country's crime rate was at its lowest since 1972.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 11th
  • Health Security: 21st
  • Infrastructure Safety: 8th
  • Personal Safety: 7th

No. 7: Zurich

Gianluca Colla | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Zurich may be known for its banking industry, but it's also located in 2014's "most happiest country", Switzerland, according to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.

While Zurich only has around 366,800 citizens, it is home to an extensive public transport system–and one of the world's busiest train stations.

The city also comes first for health security and infrastructure safety, although its residents do face a high cost of living.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 19th
  • Health Security: 1st
  • Infrastructure Safety: 1st
  • Personal Safety: 13th

No. 6: Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Ales Kramer | E+ | Getty Images

The second Australian city in the top 10, Sydney was named as one of the most "liveable" of all 50 locations analyzed by the EIU.

According to the CIA's World Factbook, Australia's urban population makes up 89.2 percent of its population, and some 4.5 million inhabitants live in Sydney alone, making it Australia's most populated city.

As such, maybe it's unsurprising that it comes third in the EIU's infrastructure safety rankings. In addition, Sydney has one of the largest tram systems worldwide.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 14th
  • Health Security: 17th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 3rd
  • Personal Safety: 10th


Source: Australian Government's official website for the "Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development"

No. 5: Amsterdam

Church of St Nicholas and canal in Amsterdam.
Richard L'Anson | Getty Images

Despite having less than 800,000 residents, the Netherland's cultural capital is named one of the best places to live in the world by the EIU, coming fourth on its Index of Indexes.

In Mercer's "Quality of Living" index for 2014, Amsterdam came 11th out of 460 cities. Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, highlighted the city's low crime and corruption levels.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 17th
  • Health Security: 13th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 4th
  • Personal Safety: 9th


Source: Mercer's "2014 Quality of Living" report

No. 4: Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden
Ellen Rooney | Robert Harding World Imagery | Getty Images

The Swedish capital scored highly when it came to democratic status and business environment. In fact, the only area that let Stockholm down was its infrastructure safety.

Sweden itself has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $552 billion and is the fifth-best country to do business in, according to Forbes. However, while it has universal healthcare, Stockholm ranks lower in health safety than many other European cities analyzed by the EIU.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 7th
  • Health Security: 10th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 21st
  • Personal Safety: 4th

No. 3: Osaka

Osaka, Japan at night
TommL | iStock | Getty Images

Home to 2.6 million people, this Japanese city was names the third safest city in the world by the EIU, helped by its flourishing IT sector, strong economy, food security and high "liveability."

But the report noted that Osaka lost points to Tokyo, which had a higher number of cyber security teams and privacy-based policies. Overall, however, Osaka performed well in most of the top categories, with only infrastructure blemishing its score.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 5th
  • Health Security: 6th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 12th
  • Personal Safety: 2nd

No. 2: Singapore

Singapore
Lonely Planet

Having ranked first for personal safety, it comes as no surprise that Singapore did so well in the overall ranking. It also scored well in digital security and infrastructure.

The city-state is the third richest country in the world, according to Forbes, and was named by Lonely Planet as the top country to visit in 2015, due to recent developments in its tourism sector.

Charles Ross, senior editor at EIU, noted that "traditional crimes" in Singapore were very low, meaning that its inhabitants felt protected. However, he added that cybercrime was an area that Singapore needed to focus on in order to enhance its safety.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 2nd
  • Health Security: 12th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 7th
  • Personal Safety: 1st

No. 1: Tokyo

Pedestrians walk through the Togoshi shopping district in Tokyo, October 1, 2013.
Toshifumi Kitamura | AFP | Getty Images

As cybersecurity becomes more of a concern, Tokyo appears to have it covered. In fact, its high digital safety rating helped the city of 38 million people be named the world's safest by the EIU.

"The world's most populous city is also the safest in the Index," the report said. While EIU senior analyst Chris Clague added its personal safety was "unmatched."

Tokyo, which will be the host for the 2020 Olympics, was also ranked in the top five cities for infrastructure and personal safety.

Performance rankings:

  • Digital Security: 1st
  • Health Security: 8th
  • Infrastructure Safety: 5th
  • Personal Safety: 3rd