Taipei Is 22nd Safest City: Economist

Taipei 101

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit report “The Safe Cities Index 2017,” Taipei ranks 22nd worldwide out of 60 cities, just behind New York but ahead of Washington, D.C.

The rankings are based on categories that include digital, health, infrastructure and physical safety. The Economist added six other indicators since its report in 2015.

The top three safest cities were Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka, respectively.

The Taiwan capital, however, came in sixth in the personal security category. Asia took five of the top 10 spots in the category with Hong Kong joining the three top overall cities. Wellington and Toronto came in second and fifth, respectively. All of the top 10 cities in the category, according to the report, have high income levels, while those in the bottom are in developing nations.

Cities at the bottom of the list have been hit by terrorist attacks in the last few years. The report says, “The balancing act for urban planners is protecting against such attacks while allowing the free movement of people around the city.”

While personal safety is high in higher-income cities, the report claims that “in cities across all regions, youth violence is a problem, particularly in areas where youth unemployment is high.” It also mentions that CCTV camera use improves personal security, as seen in Tokyo, Singapore, and London.

Taipei had the ninth-highest deaths per million residents related to natural disasters. Cities with higher populations had a lower proportion.

In reference to infrastructure, the report states, “Financial resources might seem a powerful determinant of the ability to do this, but the index reveals that the wealthiest cities are not always those that are delivering the best infrastructure security.”

The report notes, “[W]hile the Safe Cities Index measures relative rather than absolute safety, there does not appear to have been a vast improvement in overall levels of safety since 2015.” There is a mention that overall, safety is declining, though Seoul and Madrid made improvements in the year.

The report concludes, “Today, the issue of urban security goes beyond the concerns of municipal leaders and urban residents. Cities are becoming the powerhouses of the global economy, with the world’s top 600 cities now producing 60% of global GDP.”

The report contains few details about why Taipei ranked where it does. Most of the details are general or related to the top- and bottom-performing cities.

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