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These US cities rank higher for tech security than personal safety


The U.S. is home to some of the most digitally secure cities in the world, yet it lags behind in other important safety measures, a new study has found.

Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and New York are among the world's savviest cities when it comes to implementing cybersecurity measures and raising citizens' awareness of digital threats, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) new report called "Safe Cities Index 2019."

Indeed, all six places score over 90% for digital security, positioning them among the top 10 most digitally secure cities in the world — alongside Tokyo, Singapore, Toronto and London — and well above the global average of 67.2%.

"As the world moves from citizens to netizens and is becoming more interconnected, digital security is a key parameter in measuring the safety of a city," Simon Baptist, chief economist and managing director at the EIU, tells CNBC Make It.

A safety outlier

The U.S. lags behind in other major safety metrics, however, the report notes.

In fact, Washington DC is the only American city to make it into the top 10, when it comes to the report's three other safety indicators: Health security; infrastructure security; and personal security.

The U.S. capital places seventh globally for health security, and tenth for infrastructure security.

Other major U.S. tech hubs, meanwhile, struggle to cut above the 15th place in the remaining categories. Los Angeles records the lowest rank among them, placing 32nd for personal safety.

Different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined ... it is rare to find a city with very good results in one safety pillar and lagging in others.
Naka Kondo
senior editor, the Economist Intelligence Unit

Health security pertains to environmental policies and access to health care, according to the report. Infrastructure security regards transport safety and disaster management, while personal security covers crime levels and police engagement.

Though the U.S. displays some notable outliers, overall the report notes a general level of consistency across the four pillars, stating than investment in one area can have knock on effects for others.

"Different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined ... it is rare to find a city with very good results in one safety pillar and lagging in others," notes Naka Kondo, senior editor of the EIU.

Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka, for example, perform especially well across all four categories, each placing in the top 10 across at least three of the four.

Top 10 safest cities:

1. Tokyo

2. Singapore

3. Osaka

4. Amsterdam

5. Sydney

6. Toronto

7. Washington DC

8. Copenhagen (joint)

8. Seoul (joint)

10. Melbourne

Why is Singapore's crime rate so low?
Why is Singapore's crime rate so low?