Saigon falls short in global safety ranking

By Vi Vu   October 16, 2017 | 01:52 am PT
Saigon falls short in global safety ranking
People cross a street in Saigon. Vietnam’s southern metropolis has been ranked 56th out of 60 cities around the world in the latest Safe Cities Index compiled by The Economist. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
The city and its Southeast Asian peers Jakarta and Manila prop up the index in the bottom 10.

Vietnam’s southern metropolis Saigon has been ranked 56th out of 60 cities around the world in the latest Safe Cities Index compiled by The Economist, which measures cities’ personal, health, infrastructure and digital risks.

The only Vietnamese city named on the index, Saigon finished in the bottom 10 along with its Southeast Asian peers Yangon, Manila and Jakarta. Bangkok was ranked 49th while Kuala Lumpur made it to 31st, according to the report released last week.

The city was placed in 48th position out of 50 cities measured in 2015, when the index was first launched.

Despite being considered Vietnam’s largest commercial center and one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia, Saigon is described in the report as among the low-income cities that “often lack technology skills, where competing challenges such as tackling infectious diseases can push cyber security lower on the list of priorities.”

Saigon is the most crowded city in Vietnam and home to 13 million people. Traffic, flooding and air pollution are possibly its biggest problems, besides food safety and street crime.

The city scored badly in terms of personal security, only above Caracas in Venezuela and Pakistan’s capital Karachi. It also scored badly in the digital security category, while its health score ranked 48th and infrastructure performance was 46th.

The city, which has become a popular destination recommended by many international travel sites, received around 4.2 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year, up 16 percent from a year ago.

It’s not clear how much the new report will affect tourism development or investment. 

The Economist said the world’s urban population has grown by more than 150 million people since it launched the index, raising the total number of people living in cities to more than four billion. Most of the urbanization occurred in the developing world where massive migration from rural areas has been seen, it said.

The top half of the index is filled up entirely by developed cities except for Buenos Aires, which ranked 29th.

Tokyo topped the index as the world’s safest city, followed by Singapore and Osaka. The top 10 was completed by Toronto, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Sydney, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Zurich.

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