Dhaka has emerged 54th out of 60 major cities on a global Safe Cities Index 2021 carried out by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), improving slightly from the 56th position it occupied in 2019.
The Bangladesh capital had an overall score of 48.9 this time round, or well below average, compared to 44.6 two years ago.
Copenhagen came out top followed by Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Wellington, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Stockholm.
Yangon is at the bottom with 39.5.
Dhaka has done better in environmental security, having been ranked 47th. But its performance put it in the 56th position in terms of digital security. The city’s ranking in health, infrastructure, and personal security is 52nd, 55th, and 54th.
Sponsored by NEC Corporation, the Safe Cities Index is a global, policy benchmarking tool developed to measure urban safety measured by 76 distinct factors across five broad pillars.
These are personal, infrastructure, health, digital and environmental security.
Overall in South Asia, Karachi is behind Dhaka, just ahead of Yangon, where recent protests against Myanmar military junta’s takeover saw hundreds of demonstrators killed.
Mumbai has been placed 50th, two notches behind New Delhi.
The report said the top of the table has changed dramatically – with Copenhagen first overall and Toronto second, but the first division remains largely the same.
In each of the last three iterations, Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka – always in that order – have been the index leaders.
In all four editions of the index, six cities – Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore and Sydney – have all figured among the leading 10, with only a few points separating them.
Income and transparency remain strongly correlated with higher index scores, the report observed.
Cities with higher scores in the Human Development Index, or HDI, have also done better in the Safe Cities results.
“Here our experts warn that cause and effect are not straightforward. Income can help fund safety-increasing investments, but economic growth in turn depends on an environment benefiting from every kind of security. The likely relationship here is a virtuous circle,” the report said.
“More straightforward is the likely link between transparency and security: the World Bank’s Control of Corruption scores and ours also correlate tightly independent of HDI results. Clean government is a fundamental requirement for a city to be safe.”
The Safe Cities Index was first launched in 2015 with 44 indicators and 50 cities.
The EIU said since then, the index has been updated once every two years, increasing city coverage as well as strengthening the framework to include emerging challenges to urban safety.
It said this year, the framework has been further updated to reflect the dynamic nature of the urban safety landscape with a special focus on the Covid-19 pandemic impact.