HSRCBlog What Makes a Safe City, “Safe”?

What Makes a Safe City, “Safe”?

What is one thing that most people have in common when planning a trip? Sure, they might take the food, entertainment and attractions into consideration before deciding on a destination. One thing is certain however; most people want to go somewhere that is considered safe.


The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Safe Cities Index (SCI) has recently ranked 60 locations throughout the world as being among the safest. Topping that list is Tokyo, receiving a score of 92.0 out of 100. That’s pretty good for the most populated metropolis on earth!


SCI ranked cities according to their digital security, health security, infrastructure, and personal safety:

  • Leading in digital security are: Tokyo, Singapore, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco
  • Leading in health security are: Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul, Amsterdam and Stockholm
  • Leading in infrastructure security are: Singapore, Osaka, Barcelona, Tokyo, Madrid
  • Leading in personal security are: Singapore, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Wellington


In recent years, our perception of what we consider to be a “safe city” has changed. Today (2019), 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas,  a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. According to Homeland Security Research Corporation’s (HSRC) Safe City Market and Technologies (2019-2024) report, urban crime, terror and natural disasters have long been recognized as a major  challenge  to  sustainable cities  and have  a  significant  impact  on quality of life and economic development. With a third of all urban dwellers  living  in  ghettos,  slums,  favela, rapid urbanization is also reshaping the family, the school and the community.


According HSRC’s Safe City report, ensuring safety and  security  of  citizens  in  cities  is  one  of  the  key challenges for governments, mayors and policy makers. “Safe City” is an open   and   reliable solution that   provides   a   variety   of   integrated operational services for a highly complex operational  chain  and  effective deployment,  not  only  at  an  individual  level  of  a  municipality,  but  also integration into a single, government structure. “Safe City”  with its single set of information-management tools, offers a multi-dimensional coverage for complex and multi-functional operational tasks, a diversity of integrated systems   (video   surveillance   and   video   analytics,   chemical  control, emergency  communications,  public  address  and  general  alarm,  media, etc.)  and  support  for    a  sustainable  expansion  of  the  present  and  future services (e.g., eCall, connection of public objects, telephone notification).


The safe city concept integrates a wide range of interconnected disciplines such  as risk  management,  crisis  management,  emergency  management, continuity management, recovery, disaster management and resilience. In addition,   safe   city   covers   a   range   of   integrated   activities   including anticipation, assessment, prevention, protection, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery before, during, and after a disruptive incident.


Implementation of Safe City infrastructure affects the view of the public on the city and  on  the  municipal  politics  and  it  will  also  have  significant financial  implications  as  it  may  limit  the  capability  of  the  city  to  grow  and prosper.

Once a safe city system is deployed, the municipality can enjoy the added value  of  utilizing  it  to  drive  economic  development  by  upgrading  it  to  a Smart  city  level  which  attracts  business  investment,  provides  municipal services and ultimately improves quality of life for residents. Moreover, the same  system  that  is  ideal  for  safe  city  deployments  offers  compelling revenue-generating  opportunities  such  as  traffic  control,  transportation security, automatic meter reading, e-services for citizens and more.


In a recent article by Forbes, they address the DDACTS, (Data-Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Statistics) which is a joint program that was introduced under the Obama Administration. The DDACTS is a national partnership co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institutes of Justice (NIJ). NHTSA, its federal partners and many additional national organizations provide technical assistance and other resources to states and localities interested in adopting the DDACTS model.

DDACTS employs geolocational data that combines highly correlated crash and crime data, and then determines redeployment strategies for officers and other resources. Drawing on the deterrent value of highly visible traffic enforcement and the knowledge that crimes often involve motor vehicles, the goal of DDACTS is to reduce crime, crashes, and traffic violations across the country.


We cannot determine the future, but hopefully we will be witnessing more cities becoming “Safe Cities”.


For more information, contact Naomi Sapir: 

Gil Siegel

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