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The 20 Safest Cities in the World, Ranked

SmarterTravel

One oft heard bit of advice to departing travelers is: “Travel safe.” That can be easier said than done, but if safety is a priority for your travels, there are the occasional studies that attempt to evaluate and rank the world’s safest cities according to varying factors. And according to The Economist’s esteemed Safest Cities Index for 2019, many of travelers’ favorite city destinations are among the world’s safest.

The study ranked 60 cities across 49 separate indicators for digital security, health security, infrastructure security, and personal security. So each city was ranked on all four dimensions, as well as on general security by an overall score.

The World’s Safest Cities

These are the top 20 safest cities, ranked overall:

  1. Tokyo, Japan
  2. Singapore, Singapore
  3. Osaka, Japan
  4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. Sydney, Australia
  6. Toronto, Canada
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. Seoul, South Korea
  10. Melbourne, Australia
  11. Chicago, Illinois
  12. Stockholm, Sweden
  13. San Francisco, California
  14. London, England
  15. New York City, New York
  16. Frankfurt, Germany
  17. Los Angeles, California
  18. Wellington, New Zealand
  19. Zurich, Switzerland
  20. Hong Kong

Statista/The Economist

Based on only “Personal Security,” which looks mainly at violent crime and other physical hazards (and is therefore the factor most relevant to travelers), the top 10 safest cities are: Singapore, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Wellington, Stockholm, Osaka, Toronto, Amsterdam, and Sydney. By this measure, the top US cities are Washington, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, which score in the top to middle of the list, at positions 23 to 32.

If you’re more concerned with places to avoid, the worst cities for personal security (or the least safest cities for travelers) are:

  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Caracas, Venezuela
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Yangon, Myanmar
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Johannesburg, South Africa

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuses every day at SmarterTravel.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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