The Safe Cities Index is an initiative sponsored by the Economist magazine, and uses four categories to determine the perceived safety of a given city. The categories are:
- Digital security which measures how likely one is to be a victim of privacy violations or identity theft through the internet. Availability of technology and its level is also measured.
- Health security which measures ease of access to care for residents, as well as its quality. Air and water quality is also taken into consideration, as is life expectancy.
- Infrastructure safety which measures the resilience and safety of urban infrastructure, particularly against potential disasters. Frequency of accidents is measured along with the standards with which infrastructure is held to.
- Personal safety measures the incurrence of violent and petty crime, drug use, theft, and violence. How safe residents generally feel in their city is also taken into consideration.
Data was sourced from cities on overall liveability, as well as data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Kaspersky Lab, and other sources. The higher the score is to 100, the safer the city's ranking is considered. Below is an overview of where major Asian cities fall within this ranking.
10. Mumbai, India (61.84/100)
Mumbai is the most populous city in all of India, with an metropolitan population of over 20 million residents. Its scores were 54.61 in digital security, 55.74 in health security, 59.12 in infrastructure security, and 77.89 in personal security. Part of Mumbai's reputation of lacking safety has been blamed on a massive network of underground organized crime. Drug trafficking has also been cited, as well as money laundering. Residential theft is also a concern in Mumbai.
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (61.23/100)
Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, as well as the most populous with an urban population of over four million. Riyadh scored 60.86 in digital security, 66.13 in health security, 56.88 in infrastructure security, and 61.04 in personal security. Although the crime rate of Saudi Arabia has historically been seen as low, it has been noted that the crime rate appears to be drastically increasing. Petty crime is particularly cited as an area of concern, as is the risk of terrorism. However, the murder rate overall remains low.
8. Bangkok, Thailand (60.05/100)
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand with a population of nearly 15 million in its metropolitan area, falls in 8th place on this list. Its scores were 44.44 in digital security, 66.64 in health security, 68.33 in infrastructure safety, 60.80 in personal safety. Drug abuse, organized gangs, and corruption have all been cited as possible causes of crime in Bangkok. In recent years, the homicide of tourists and expatriates in Thailand have made the news, spreading the reputation of Bangkok as a dangerous city to visit.
7. Tehran, Iran (56.49/100)
Tehran is the largest city as well as the capital of Iran, with a population of 9 million within the city and 16 million in the wide metropolitan area. Tehran scored 39.88 in digital security, 62.96 in health security, 63.95 in infrastructure security, and 59.18 in personal security. Drug trafficking and selling, alcohol smuggling, oil smuggling, tax evasion, kidnapping, theft, fraud, money laundering and even murder occur in Tehran. Although crime rates in Tehran have been statistically low on average, the rates do seem to be increasing.
6. Manila, Philippines (54.86/100)
Manila is capital of the Philippines. It also holds the designation of being the most densely populated city in the entire world. Within the Safe Cities Index, Manila scored 36.61 in digital security, 60.12 in health security, 52.89 in infrastructure security, and 69.85 in personal security. Crimes in Manila include things like robbery, kidnapping, loan sharking, and murdering. Violent crime is not unheard of within the city.
5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (54.33/100)
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's largest city with a population of over eight million. It was previously known as Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City scored 39.78 in digital security, 61.29 in health security, 65.73 in infrastructure security, and 50.53 in personal security. Like many of the entries on this list, petty crime and pickpocketing are of highest concern in Ho Chi Minh City, as violent crime such as murder remains relatively rare.
4. Jakarta, Indonesia (53.39/100)
Jakarta is Indonesia's largest city with a population of nearly ten million. Its scores were 36.60 in digital security, 53.11 in health security, 63.32 in infrastructure security, and 59.24 in personal security. Although petty crime is the most common type of criminal activity reported in Jakarta, more violent crimes are not completely uncommon. A high rate of organized crime has also been cited in Jakarta. Internet fraud is also suspected to be on the rise, which could explain the low ranking in digital security. Block M in South Jakarta has been suggested as a hotbed for crime within Indonesia, as well as the Ancol Port in north Jakarta.
3. Dhaka, Bangladesh (47.37/100)
Dhaka is both the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Around 14 million people live there. Its scores were 38.33 in digital security, 45.59 in health security, 38.42 in infrastructure security, and 67.15 in personal security. All of these factors culminated in a low score of 47.37 out of 100, which gives Dhaka the third spot on the list of Asia's most dangerous cities. Due to Bangladesh's geographic location, the country is often used as a thoroughfare for drug trafficking.
2. Yangon, Myanmar (46.47/100)
Yangon is the capital city of Myanmar, or Burma. Its score can be broken down by 39.07 in digital security, 45.79 in health security, 48.58 in infrastructure security, and 52.43 in personal security. By these measures, Yangon is the second most dangerous city in all of Asia. Although problems such as drug trafficking are certainly apparent in Myanmar, it is important to note that Yangon's inclusion on this list is relatively recent. The largest drop in rankings that were experienced in Yangon was the drop in digital security.
1. Karachi, Pakistan (38.77/100)
Karachi, Pakistan, ranks the lowest on the Safe Cities Index, making it the most dangerous city in Asia. It scored 43.22 in digital security, 39.92 in health security, 40.11 in infrastructure security, and 31.85 in personal security. The low ranking in personal security is most staggering for this city that counts over 20 million residents in its surrounding area. In Karachi, many report feeling unsafe walking alone, even during daylight. Instances of violent crime remains high, and things like carjackings are not uncommon. To worsen problems, corruption and bribery also runs rampant in the city, a situation that only seems to be worsening.