There’s a laundry list of reasons to visit far-off cities. We’re drawn in by the smells of street food, skylines full of architectural wonders, bars and restaurants bubbling with denizens, and the art and music scenes reflecting that moment in time. A city is a visage of how a group of people sees itself and wants to be perceived on the world stage. But, there’s more than that. There’s also the messiness of life and people — meaning personal safety is 100 percent part of the equation when we decide where to live or travel.
The Economist started following personal safety in major cities around the world with what they call a ‘Safety Cities Index.‘ And while their findings tend to mirror all those ‘best places to live’ and ‘happiest cities on earth‘ lists, their metrics feature a much more intense depth.
This year’s list went deeper than previous iterations. It looks at safety according to aspects of city life like “gender safety,” new risks of urban terrorism and civil unrest, and digital safety as part of its 49 separate indicators. They looked at not only whether or not women are safe from rape but added female homicide and took into account the underreporting of sex crimes against women (often based on different countries having very different definitions and laws around rape and sexual misconduct). The indicators also adjusted for the growing threat of civil unrest leading to rioting across parts of the world. What we’re getting at here is that this list isn’t just about which city’s denizens are making the most money and living the easiest lives. While those are factors, The Economist’s metric also measures the darker side of our existence.
Of the 60 major cities examined by the ‘Safe Cities Index 2017,’ the major US cities that were eligible landed around the middle with none making it into the top ten. According to the Index, a large part of that is due to the “decaying state of infrastructure” the US is facing and a lacking in some general civil safety issues (cough, cough, health care … cough, cough, gun violence). Which is all getting much harder to argue with these days.
All of that aside, the list offers a glimpse into the safest places to live and visit. So set aside those fears and get ready to explore somewhere new (or rediscover an old favorite).
10. Zurich, Switzerland
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Switzerland’s city by the lake is a postcard-perfect locale with church spires, restaurants devoted to melting cheese on things, and a kicked back atmosphere. Zurich is the sort of place where a good life can be easily lived amongst the beauty of stunning alpine nature.
What a unique shot by @framboisejam 😃! You gotta be lucky to see one of these vintage trams on the streets of Zurich 🚋. They have been replaced by far more modern ones some time back and only circulate for special occations nowadays. So if you see one, you can be sure to get a rather special picture 😊📸 | Thanks for sharing your moments with #VisitZurich