Copenhagen has been named the world’s safest city in a new wide-reaching study from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Danish capital surpassed former frontrunners like Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka in the fourth edition of the EIU’s biennial Safe Cities Index, which for the first time included environmental security metrics.
In a study of five pillars of urban security — digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental — Copenhagen topped the charts, scoring 82.4 points out of 100. The European city was followed closely behind by Toronto with 82.2 points. Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, regular fixtures in the list’s top tiers, rounded out the top five.
The EIU’s Safe Cities Index this year ranked 60 cities across 76 indicators of security, to get a better picture of global urban safety. The addition of the new environmental security pillar reflects the increased importance of sustainability issues and climate adaptation measures following the coronavirus pandemic. Toronto and Copenhagen performed noticeably better in the new environmental security pillar than did any of the top-three cities from earlier years.
Indeed, alongside health security, the coronavirus had an impact across all security metrics, the report’s authors noted. “Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of urban safety,” Pratima Singh, project director of the EIU’s Safe Cities Index, said.
Digital security, for instance, has become a higher priority as work and commerce have moved online, while infrastructure safety has had to adjust due to changes in travel and utility consumption. Elsewhere, personal safety has been impacted by a shift in crime patterns during lockdowns, and environmental safety has come to the fore as the pandemic served as a stark warning of an unexpected crisis.
Singh said the findings should act as a reminder for governments and policymakers of the need for further investment in safety and security measures — particularly in politically and economically unstable countries. Among the least safe of the 60 cities measured were Lagos, Cairo, Caracas, Karachi and Yangon