Copenhagen was named the safest city in the world in a new, far-reaching study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The Danish capital overtook former leaders such as Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka in the fourth edition of the EIU’s biennial Safe Cities Index, which included environmental safety indicators for the first time.

In a study of five pillars of urban security – digital, health, infrastructure, human resources and the environment – Copenhagen topped the charts, scoring 82.4 out of 100 points.

Covid-19 has changed the whole concept of urban security.

Pratima Singh

Project Leader, Economist Intelligence Unit

Here are the 10 safest cities in the world

  1. Copenhagen
  2. Toronto
  3. Singapore
  4. Sydney
  5. Tokyo
  6. Amsterdam
  7. Wellington
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Melbourne
  10. Stockholm

This year, the EIU’s Safe Cities Index rated 60 cities based on 76 safety indicators in order to get a better picture of global urban safety.

The inclusion of the new environmental security pillar reflects the increased importance of sustainability issues and climate adaptation measures after the coronavirus pandemic. Toronto and Copenhagen performed significantly better in the new environmental security pillar than any of the top 3 cities from previous years.

Covid-19 affects global security

In fact, in addition to health security, the coronavirus had an impact on all safety metrics, the report’s authors found.

“Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of urban security,” said Pratima Singh, EIU’s Safe Cities Index project manager, to CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Monday.

We see a very strong correlation between high income countries and index performance.

Pratima Singh

Project Leader, Economist Intelligence Unit

For example, digital security has become a higher priority as work and commerce have moved to the internet, while infrastructure security has had to adapt due to changes in travel and utility consumption.

Elsewhere, personal safety has been compromised by a change in crime patterns during the lockdown, and environmental safety has come to the fore as the pandemic served as a powerful warning of an unexpected crisis.

Singh said the results should remind governments and policymakers that further investment in security measures is needed – especially in politically and economically unstable countries.

The least safe of the 60 cities measured included Lagos, Cairo, Caracas, Karachi and Yangon.

“We see a very strong correlation between high-income countries and the performance of the index,” said Singh. “We see that some of the higher-income countries … are also doing well in infrastructure, while some of the lower-income countries need to give increasing priority to infrastructure investment.”

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