During the ten years history of the foundation of the Prosperity rankings, it becomes clear that establishing personal safety and security, adequate personal freedoms, and broadly principled systems of governance are generally prerequisites to building a functioning economy.
Let's see which countries are considered the safest according to the Legatum Prosperity Index 2019. The parameters explored and scored are War and Civil Conflict, Terrorism, Politically Related Terror and Violence, Violent Crime (Intentional homicides, safety walking alone at night, Physical security of women), Property Crime (including Business costs of organized crime).
Switzerland, a clear winner of the world score for both the politically motivated violence and violent crimes, the country deserves the credit: it rose 30 ranks. It cleared up institutional misconduct in just ten years. There is quite a lot of property crime, but it is not surprising for "the bank of Europe." It is safe to walk at night, and the violence towards women is uncommon. Traveling in Switzerland is secure, as violent crime is infrequent in the country. Petty crimes like pickpocketing became slightly more frequent in recent years, particularly in the big cities like Geneva and tourists are its typical target. Another concern is the thefts of vehicles of all kinds, including cars, scooters, and bikes. Still, if you watch out for pickpockets in city centers, transport hubs, on public transport, and keep an eye on your valuables reasonably, you have nothing to worry about.
Norway deserves a high score for achieving safety in every aspect that is determined by the government and institutions themselves: clean slate for the politically motivated violence, and top rating for crimes. Unlike in other countries, all other parameters have improved over the decade. The only complaints tourists have regarding safety concerns weather conditions, especially during winter and in the Northern part of the country. Tourists die in the wilderness because of a lack of experience or equipment. Waterfalls can be dangerous too, and the weather can go from sunny to an enormous storm very quickly in summer. Norway invests heavily in Search And Rescue and tourist education.
Luxembourg's stable and high-income market economy is growing stably, with a high level of innovation and low unemployment. With no Politics Related Terror and Violence and no detected terrorism cases still struggled with property crime a little but not to the point of compromising general safety: the country holds the top score for women safety, too.
7. Hong Kong
Hong Kong got a high score because of quite a low record of violent crime and zero terrorism incidents. Still, politically motivated violence places the country on the 25th rank, with the deterioration in the last decade. Yet, for a tourist, it should be safer to walk at night than on average. For tourists, Hong Kong is a non-violent city. Travelers can become victims of petty theft, but this can be prevented by taking precautions. Typhoons are frequent in Hong Kong during the summer. Although some typhoons do not touch land, the storms and winds can still cause significant damages, flooding, or landslides.
Denmark ended up in 5th place due to the occasions of terrorism-related situations in the country, unfortunately, faced in 2019. Nevertheless, the country demonstrated an outstanding improvement in Politically Related Terror and Violence, reducing the number of suspected occasions to zero and lifting itself from the below 20th place to the top score in just one decade. It shows that humane ideals are firm in their position over any political agenda.
Iceland lost a few points due to producing a few political refugees and terrorism incidents it faced in 2019. But the country holds a definitively top score for political violence and power misuse: it values its citizens' human rights and upholds the rule of law. Iceland's unemployment rate and poverty rates are nearly non-existent, which produces a naturally safe environment.
Singapore: this wealthy state city is a financial hub named one of the Asian "tigers." It is also renowned for its strict local laws. Accordingly, the top score for the property crime and no incidents of Terrorism during 2019 lifted Singapore to the top 10. There were a few cases of political imprisonment, but just a few compared to the world average. The country is considered exceptionally safe for walking alone at night, maintaining its reputation among both locals and tourists.
Taiwan: this island country is located in East Asia, off the coast of southwest of Okinawa, Japan and north of the Philippines. Taiwan is a surprising winner among the European and Scandinavian countries and is the one which showed immense improvement in safety and security during the last decade. Property crime rose from the 60th to 13th place, and the war and politics related rights violations remained clean for the entire decade: a beautiful trend and outstanding achievement. The only concerns for travelers are pickpockets, which are not, however, higher than in other cities, occasional typhoons, and ATM scams.
Austria, unfortunately, had to face a few terrorist attacks incidents, but it holds steadily reasonable rates for political safety and general crime. Austria's enduring legacy of its decades of neutrality can be seen in a large number of international organizations that call Vienna their home, including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Traveling in Austria presents very few risks. Its robbery and assault rates are among the lowest in the developed world. What makes Austria a great sightseeing destination, is that even the small towns and natural areas like woodland are very safe at any time of the day. Pickpockets do exist, although they are not common, so beware in crowded places.
Japan is famous for being a very safe country for both its citizens and tourists, although it did lose a few points on the political pressure over the last decade. It is considered very safe for tourists, especially women: many trains heading to the suburbs even have women-only cars. As long as you avoid a few select districts: for example, Kabukicho is the biggest red-light district on earth. The Firearm and Sword Possession Control Law is very strict about the civilian ownership of guns, swords, and other weapons. Japans uphold the law that "no person shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords," and there are few exceptions. The incidence rate of violent crimes is very low in Japan, and death from weapons or gunfire traumas are very rare. Clearly, the no-gun rule is working well.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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