The Economist Safe Cities Index Not Very Favourable to ASEAN Metropolises

Every two years, the UK magazine the “Economist” released its index of the world’s safest cities. Unfortunately, except for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, most ASEAN cities are in the bottom of the list for the 2017 edition…

The Safe Cities Index 2017 is a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by NEC. The report is based on the second iteration of the index, which ranks 60 cities across 49 indicators covering digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security.

The Economist highlights that if cities generate economic activity, the security challenges they face expand
and intensify as their populations rise. These include growing pressure on housing supply (prompting the spread of slums) and services such as healthcare, transport, and water and power infrastructure. Man-made risks are also growing such as terrorism acts in high profile, wealthy urban centres. As income divides widen, growing inequalities can also create tensions that contribute to violent outbursts. Finally, the safety of technologies used in daily life is becoming increasingly crucial. Cyber criminality use technology vulnerability if investments are not done in cyber security.

The Economist explains that consequences of neglecting cyber security could be dire. For example, if hackers were to
shut down the power supply, an entire city would be left in chaos. This prospect is something city officials now need to plan against.

According to the index covering 60 cities around the world, the safest cities are located in Europe and Northeast Asia. Of the cities in the top ten positions in the overall index, four are Asian (Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka and Hong Kong) and three European (Amsterdam, Stockholm and Zurich). Melbourne and Sydney are in the top 10 while only North American city is reaching the top level: Toronto in Canada.

By contrary, most ASEAN capitals are in the bottom line. Of the ten cities at the bottom of the overall index, four are in South-East Asia- namely Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Yangon. And Bangkok is only marginally better, reaching rank 49 on a total of 60. Most worrying is the infrastructure security with only Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and partially Bangkok show excellent or satisfying results.

Safety Index Overall results ASEAN cities 2017

2- Singapore            89.64

31- Kuala Lumpur  73.11

49- Bangkok           60.05

55- Manila              54.86

56- HCM City        54.33

57- Jakarta            53.39

59- Yangon            46.47


Digital Security

2- Singapore

30- Kuala Lumpur

52- Bangkok

56- HCM City

57- Yangon

59- Manila

60- Jakarta


Health Security

13- Singapore

36- Kuala Lumpur

37- Bangkok

48- HCM City

49- Manila

56- Jakarta

58- Yangon


Infrastructure Security

1- Singapore

35- Kuala Lumpur

43- Bangkok

46- HCM City

49- Jakarta

56- Manila

58- Yangon


Personal Security

1- Singapore

24- Kuala Lumpur

39- Manila

49- Bangkok

51- Jakarta

57- Yangon

58- Ho Chi Minh City

Complete information is available under