Some cities are incredibly dangerous. In Caracas, Venezuela about 1.3 people were murdered per 1,000 in 2016 (almost 12 per day)! Though in certain cities I’ve lived, 12 homicides a year would be considered high.
Murders are only one variable in determining how “safe” a city is. Other serious crimes also play a determining factor.
In a more positive take on our “Most Dangerous Cities 2017” post, I wanted to uncover where the safest cities on earth were.
Numbeo surveys visitors to their website about city crime to produce their Safe City Index. Questions for their surveys are similar to many similar scientific and government surveys. They use their own data due to inconsistencies with government reporting of crime data worldwide.
The Safe City Index is an estimation of overall level of crime in a given city. If the city has a high Safe City index, it is considered very safe (low crime). The maximum attainable index value is 100.
Top 10 Safest Cities 2017
|1||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates||Asia||84.49|
|369||Rio De Janeiro, Brazil||Americas||22.13|
|370||Pretoria, South Africa||Africa||22.01|
|372||Johannesburg, South Africa||Africa||21.51|
|373||Durban, South Africa||Africa||21.42|
|376||Pietermaritzburg, South Africa||Africa||15.77|
|377||San Pedro Sula, Honduras||Americas||14.41|
In the 2017 Numbeo Safe City index, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ranks 1st. All of the top 10 have an index value of 80 points and above (out of a maximum of 100).
Caracas, Venezuela ranks last for safety with an index value of 13.39 points. It’s not surprising with about 1.3 people murdered per 1,000 people in 2016 (see our dangerous cities 2017 post)!
The median index value is 55.82 points. The mean index value is 56.08 points.
Safest Regions 2017
|Region||Mean Average Safe City Index Value 2017||Count of cities considered|
It’s a close run battle for the safest region with 0.48 index points the difference between 1st and 2nd, Europe and Asia respectively. Cities within North and South America (Americas) have the lowest average index points (40.62 points) — almost 10 points lower than Africa).
Changes in safety 2012 – 2017
I analysed 126 cities that had Numbeo Safe City Index data spanning 2012 – 2017. Of these 126 cities, 72 are safer than in 2012, 54 are more dangerous.
|City||2012||2017||2017 – 2012 pc dif||2017 rank (/376)||2012 – 2017 change rank|
|Johannesburg, South Africa||13.04||21.51||39.38%||372||6|
|Mexico City, Mexico||20.94||33.9||38.23%||343||8|
|Boston, MA, United States||40.62||64.25||36.78%||128||9|
|Miami, FL, United States||30.73||46.11||33.36%||276||10|
|Rio De Janeiro, Brazil||32.92||22.13||-48.76%||369||120|
|Chicago, IL, United States||52.58||34.61||-51.92%||341||122|
|Atlanta, GA, United States||59.38||35.19||-68.74%||336||125|
Gurgaon, India has improved by Safe City index value between 2012 and 2017 (+57.67%). The city now ranks 326 out of 376 cities in 2017 with a Safe City index value of 37.54.
At the other end of the scale Bogota, Colombia, saw its Safe City index value drop by a massive -71.89%. The city had a Safe City index value of 62.5 in 2012, in 2014 it had fallen to 44.31. It now stands at a value of 36.36 points, ranking 328 / 376 in 2017 (only slightly more dangerous than Gurgaon, India, the most improved city).
Using index values from a respected survey provides an aggregated view of safety. In out “Most Dangerous Cities 2017” post we considered actual murder rates to judge danger. The analysis of this post could be improved – or at least offer more insight – if we considered actual crime statistics for each city.
The safest city in 2017 is Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.