Melbourne has dropped five spots in this year’s global list of safest cities, while Sydney climbed two places, keeping the cities among the top 10 around the world.
Japan’s capital Tokyo took the crown for the world’s safest city, while Sydney sits fifth and Melbourne scraped in at number 10 in the Safe Cities Index.
When the list was last collated in 2017, Melbourne ranked at number five and Sydney took seventh place.
Whereas the first edition of the index saw Melbourne claim spot number 9, and Sydney reach sixth place.
Despite these changes, they were still the only Australian destinations to achieve a ranking in the list compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Researchers graded cities on digital, health, infrastructure and personal security.
Making the grade
To understand how these factors are at play, take, for example, women walking alone at night.
Whether or not it’s a common occurrence can give you a rough feel of how safe a city is regardless of where you are in the world, said Alioune Badiane, president of the Urban Think Tank Africa.
At face value, it can seem like a question about personal security.
But the study contributor said it helps to look much deeper.
If you often see unaccompanied women after dark, Mr Badiane said, it can suggest women are at a low risk of being attacked.
But females need more than personal security to feel comfortable frequenting the streets alone at night.
Infrastructure security such as street lighting can prevent violence and help not only women, but all pedestrians.
They also need digital security. If it’s commonplace for someone’s purse to be “charged by someone with a hidden RFC reader walking in the other direction”, then it would make it far less safe to be out alone, Mr Badiane said in the report.
Health security is also essential, he explains. Unhealthy levels of air pollution or a lack of public health education could mean fewer people see the value of walking.
Melbourne and Sydney scored highest on infrastructure security, equalling seventh on the list of safest cities in 2019.
Both cities were ranked 11th on digital security.
Melbourne scored the worst when it came to personal security, coming in at number 16, while Sydney grabbed spot number 10.
As for health security, Sydney came in at 11th place and Melbourne ranked at 13.
After Tokyo, came Singapore, Osaka in Japan and Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Toronto in Canada, Washington DC in America, Copenhagen in Denmark and Seoul in South Korea were also in the top 10, while China’s Hong Kong plummeted 11 places to 20th.
Lagos in Nigeria scored the lowest, with Caracas in Venezuela, Yangon in Myanmar and Karachi in Pakistan also scoring low rankings.