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How Delhi and Mumbai fared on the list of 50 safest cities in the world

New Delhi and Mumbai were the only Indian cities to make it to the top 60, and even they fared below-average on all indicators of the Economist Intelligence Unit 2021 Safe Cities Index.

August 31, 2021 / 03:20 PM IST
Delhi ranked 41st on personal security and 49th on the environmental security indicator on the EIU Safe Cities index. (File Image: Reuters)

Delhi ranked 41st on personal security and 49th on the environmental security indicator on the EIU Safe Cities index. (File Image: Reuters)


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Safe Cities Index 2021 confirmed what we all know - the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai (the only two Indian cities selected for the study) have failed us.

Both cities ranked below average on all five security indicators. Their overall scores on personal security, infrastructure, health, digital and environmental security are dismal - New Delhi ranks 48, just two rungs above Mumbai that stood at 50. Both the cities ranked lower than Beijing (36), Bogota (41), Ho Chi Minh City (45) and slightly higher than Dhaka (54) and Karachi (59).

The most glaring is the low standing on the personal security indicator which was measured by prevalence of petty/violent crimes, organised crime, severity of terrorist attacks, deaths from substance use disorders, level of corruption, laws on domestic violence and sexual harassment, among other indicators. New Delhi ranked 41 (Score 52.8) and Mumbai ranked 50 (Score 48.2). Compare it with the highest score of 86.4 for Copenhagen.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of health security cannot be overstated. New Delhi ranked 40 and Mumbai 44 - much lower than Beijing and Shanghai and a tad better than Dhaka, and Karachi.

The fourth edition of the EIU Safe Cities Index had a surprise winner. While in the previous three editions, the top three spots have been held, in the same order each year, by Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka, this time, Copenhagen came in first place, with an overall score of 82.4 points out of 100, followed in a nearly dead heat by Toronto at 82.2. Singapore and Tokyo remain in the top five – third and fifth, respectively, – with Sydney coming in fourth place.

Close

The 2021 report is based on the fourth iteration of the index, which ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security. Within each of these, the relevant indicators were grouped into inputs of safety – normally policies or resources dedicated to some aspect of security – and outputs, which are as diverse as air pollution levels and crime rates.

All data were normalised to a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 = best health.

OVERALL SCORE

New Delhi: Rank 48 (Score 56.1)

Mumbai: Rank 50 (Score 54.4)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Copenhagen (Score: 82.4)

  2. Toronto (Score: 82.2)

  3. Singapore (Score: 80.7)

  4. Sydney (Score: 80.1)

  5. Tokyo (Score: 80.0)


PERSONAL SECURITY

Inputs measured: Use of data-driven techniques for crime, gun regulation and enforcement, threat of terrorism, threat of military conflict, threat of civil unrest, police personnel/prosecution personnel/professional judges or magistrate personnel per capita, expenditure on social security, laws on domestic violence, laws on sexual harassment.

Outputs: Prevalence of petty/violent crimes, organised crime, severity of terrorist attacks, deaths from substance use disorders, level of corruption, income inequality levels, share of population in vulnerable employment, among others.

New Delhi: Rank 41 (Score 52.8)

Mumbai: Rank 50 (Score 48.2)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Copenhagen (Score 86.4)

  2. Amsterdam (Score 80.5)

  3. Frankfurt (Score 80.3)

  4. Stockholm (Score 79.7)

  5. Brussels (Score 79.2)


DIGITAL SECURITY

Inputs: Privacy policy, citizen awareness of digital threats, secure smart cities, cybersecurity preparedness

Outputs: Percentage with internet access, secure internet servers, risk of attacks, percentage of computers infected from online attacks, among others.

New Delhi: Rank 48 (Score 47.5)

Mumbai: Rank 53 (Score 45.4)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Sydney (Score: 83.2)

  2. Singapore (Score: 82.8)

  3. Copenhagen (Score: 82.2)

  4. Los Angeles (Score: 82.0) & San Francisco (Score: 82.0) were tied at rank 4


HEALTH SECURITY

Inputs: Universal healthcare coverage, availability of public/private healthcare, availability of OTC drugs, number of beds/doctors per 1,000, access to safe and quality food.

Outputs: Emergency services in the city, life expectancy, infant mortality, cancer mortality, lifestyle-related disease burden, mental health burden, Covid-19 mortality.

New Delhi: Rank 40 (Score 63.6)

Mumbai: Rank 44 (Score 60.8)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Tokyo (Score 87.7)

  2. Singapore (Score 84.1)

  3. Hong Kong (Score 84.0)

  4. Melbourne (Score 81.9)

  5. Osaka (Score 81.8)


INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY

Inputs: Enforcement of transport safety, pedestrian friendliness, disaster management/business continuity plan, water infrastructure, hazard monitoring.

Outputs: Road traffic deaths, deaths from climate-related disasters, transport infrastructure, power network, catastrophe insurance, percentage living in slums, percentage of homeless population, among others.

New Delhi: Rank 44 (Score 59.8)

Mumbai: Rank 48 (Score 57.3)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Hong Kong (Score 93.4)

  2. Singapore (Score 92.1)

  3. Copenhagen (Score 89.0)

  4. Toronto (Score 88.6)

  5. Tokyo (Score 87.7)


ENVIRONMENT SECURITY

Environment security was added as a pillar in the EIU Safe Cities Index for the first time in 2021.

Inputs: Sustainability masterplan: incentives for renewable energy, green economy initiatives, waste management.

Outputs: Sustainable energy, rate of water stress, air quality levels, urban forest cover, waste generation

New Delhi: Rank 49 (Score 56.8)

Mumbai: Rank 46 (Score 60.1)

Top 5 Countries (according to rank):

  1. Wellington (Score 91.7)

  2. Toronto (Score 90.3)

  3. Washington, DC (Score 87.6)

  4. Bogota (Score 85.5)

  5. Milan (Score 84.9)

Mumbai placed 50th out 60 cities on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2021 Safe Cities Index. Mumbai placed 50th out 60 cities on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2021 Safe Cities Index.
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
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