Saigon climbs up in global safety ranking

By Nguyen Quy   September 2, 2019 | 05:04 am PT
Saigon climbs up in global safety ranking
People watch the 2019 New Year fireworks in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Ho Chi Minh City has made a big jump in the latest global safety ranking but continues to lag behind regional peers.

According to the third edition of the Safe Cities Index released last week by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the southern metropolis ranks 47th alongside Thailand’s Bangkok out of 60 cities around the world, up nine places from the 2017 ranking.

The index measures cities in five continents based on 57 qualitative and quantitative indicators spread across four categories of security: digital, infrastructure, health, and personal.

Vietnam's southern metropolis scored an overall of 57.6 on a scale of 100, putting it above only Jakarta (53rd) and Yangon (58th) in Southeast Asia.

Manila made a substantial improvement to climb to 43rd position while Kuala Lumpur was 35th.

Singapore retained its position as the world’s second safest city after Tokyo.

Saigon is the most crowded city in Vietnam with 13 million people, including migrants. Traffic, flooding and pollution are possibly its biggest problems, besides food safety and street crimes.

The city scored badly in terms of digital security. It was also ranked among the lowest performers in the health security category, while its personal security ranked 36th, better than Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok.

Its infrastructure was placed 43rd with the city doing more for urban development, including renovating inner districts, building commercial centers around metro stations, and developing infrastructure in all directions.

In the next few years underground areas near metro stations will be developed into commercial centers.

The first metro line is expected to become operational in 2021. The 20-kilometer (12-mile) route will run from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien through Districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc and neighboring Binh Duong Province.

Asia-Pacific cities made up six of the top 10 in the list. Osaka was third, Sydney was fifth, Seoul was eighth, and Melbourne 10th.

The report noted that Tokyo and Osaka are expected to see their populations shrink due to low inward migration and birth rates, a trend that would help maintain the "relative safety and order of such places," while the challenges of urbanization would intensify in countries with fast-rising populations such as China and India.

The report underscored the huge gap in safety standards in Southeast Asia. While Singapore was the second safest city in the world, scoring 91.5 on the index, its regional neighbors scored poorly.

A video records the traffic in hyperlapse and captures the vitality of HCMC, the country's biggest city.

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