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20 Safest Large Cities in the World

20. Frankfurt, Germany

Population: 700,000

The Economist looked not only at personal safety, but also the digital, health, and infrastructure security of cities. Frankfurt scored #4 on its list of health-secured cities around the world, unsurprising given Germany's overall broad access to world-class healthcare. That ranking wasn't enough to bump Frankfurt up higher in the overall list, however. But it's still impressive to make the list at all! 

(image via xingxiyang, CC)

19. Washington, D.C.

Population: 660,000

At one time, D.C. was a perennial name on the list of the U.S.'s most dangerous cities. Now Washington, D.C. doesn't even come close to the top 10. Why the turnaround? Quite simply: urban reforms. While gentrification can be a loaded word, the housing market has exploded in D.C. leading to drastic changes in neighborhoods. Even in the public housing sector, high rises have been redesigned into garden apartment complexes.

(image via quintanomedia, CC)

18. London, United Kingdom

Population: 8.4 million

With such a large and diverse population, London may be expected to have high incidents of crime, as well. That's not to say there are none, but London fares better than other large European cities like Paris, Madrid, and Rome (who don't even make it into the top 20). 

17. Los Angeles

Population: 3.9 million

Los Angeles came in at #6 on the digital security list, which was good enough to push it to 17th overall. What does "digital security" mean exactly? The study takes into account cybersecurity for cities with high reliance on digital technology as well as the frequency of identity theft of everyday residents.

16. Chicago

Population: 2.7 million

Chicago also ranks on the digital security list at #10. It's lower population and per-person crime rate push it above L.A. on the overall list. Chicago is the 3rd-safest large city in the U.S., however, with two more American cities who placed better in more than just one category.

15. Barcelona, Spain

Population: 1.6 million

Located along the Mediterranean, Barcelona ranks #7 in health security. Barcelona is often thought of as a pickpocket haven, but in reality, the municipal police can spend so much time specifically targeting pickpocketers because there is such little violent crime or large-scale thievery. The city has changed its laws in recent years and the petty crime has ebbed.

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14. Montreal, Canada

Population: 1.6 million

Montreal ranks at number #6 for infrastructure security, scored, among other things, on its high-quality roads and low number of natural disaster deaths. It's no surprise Montreal makes the list as it is one of the most walkable cities on the planet, and even though Montreal is an old city (by North American standards), the city's infrastructure has been upgraded systematically.

(image via bikeman04, CC)

13. Taipei, Taiwan

Population: 2.7 million

Like many other Asian cities, Taipei ranks highly for personal safety (#5), and it also scores well for health security (#9). Taipei has one of the world's highest densities of 7-Eleven convenience stores, and sometimes you need that 4 a.m. There's little chance of you encountering trouble on your early morning stroll down to the corner.

(image via h760127, CC)

12. San Francisco

Population: 850,000

San Francisco is one of the smaller cities on the list. With a population (in the city proper) that doesn't yet hit 1 million, San Fran doesn't have near the size and scope to contend with as other cities on the list. The city's tech wealth and reputation place it at #8 in terms of digital security and #10 for infrastructure security.

11. Hong Kong, China

Population: 7.2 million

Hong Kong follows just behind Taipei when it comes to personal safety (#6 on the list), and the special administrative area does well in digital security also, coming in at #4. Serious crimes are uncommon, and the city center is especially well patrolled by a visible and competent police force.

10. New York City

Population: 8.5 million

New York scores well for digital (#3) and health security (#2). It may be surprising that America's largest city is also one of its safest. NYC is a famous criminology study for its rapid drop in crime from a peak in the 1990s to its current lows 20 years later. Whatever the reason, residents no longer avoid the subway and feel that their belongings are safe, even in high-traffic tourist areas.

(image via vinothchandar, CC)

9. Melbourne, Australia

Population: 4.4 million

Often touted as the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne ranks highly for infrastructure security (#2) and personal safety (#8). Australia's second-largest city is quickly overtaking its larger northern neighbor, and, while there have been some growing pains, new policies in recent years have curtailed and crime growth.

8. Toronto, Canada

Population: 2.6 million

Toronto's high investment in infrastructure places it at #8 on that list, and the city also comes it at #7 for personal safety. Like many other developed countries, Toronto has a strong social safety net that acts to deter crime before it begins.

(image via Jamie McCaffrey, CC)

7. Zurich, Switzerland

Population: 380,000

Zurich is the smallest city by population on the list, but it ranks #1 in the world for both health and infrastructure security. Zurich has the benefit of feeling like a small town where everyone knows everyone else, while simultaneously having the cosmopolitan opportunities of a much larger city.

6. Sydney, Australia

Population: 4.8 million

Sydney is the top city in Oceania and earns high marks for personal safety (#10) and its relatively new infrastructure (#3).  Like any large city, there are sometimes problems walking around downtown late at night, but in general, your biggest worries should be the ocean or the sun.

(image via nickimm, CC)

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Population: 1.3 million

Amsterdam is another city with a great reputation for infrastructure security and personal safety, ranking fourth and ninth, respectively. There IS one thing you should look out for: bikes. Biking is a quintessentially Dutch activity, but tourist may need to familiarize themselves with the local traffic culture or risk injury. 

4. Stockholm, Sweden

Population: 1.3 million

Stockholm takes the title as Europe's safest city with top-ten rankings in digital (#7) and health (#10) security as well as for personal safety (#4). Being a welfare state, Sweden prevents many dire circumstances that lead to crime, but it's still wise to be aware of your surroundings when riding the metro late at night.

(image via Magnus Johansson, CC)

3. Osaka, Japan

Population: 2.7 million

Japan has two cities ranked in the overall top 3. Osaka leads the way in personal safety, coming in at #2, and ranks well for digital (#5) and health (#6) security, as well. Japan overall has a very low crime rate, but it's best to be aware of your belongings because streets and other walkways can become quite crowded.

2. Singapore

Population: 5.4 million

Singapore comes in at #2 overall on the list thanks to its high marks in the areas of personal safety (#1), digital security (#2), and infrastructure security (#7). The low crime rate can be traced partly to the fine-happy government, where everything from spitting in public to chewing gum on the metro can earn you fines.

(image via nlann, CC)

1. Tokyo, Japan

Population: 9 million

Even though Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, it is also the safest overall. It's world's best ranking for digital security won't come as any surprise, given the city's high-tech reputation, but Tokyo also scores highly in health (#8) and infrastructure (#5) security, not to mention a #3 ranking for personal safety. It's the only city on the list that ranks in the top 10 for each of the four assesment areas.