Zealand is often marketed to migrants, students and tourists as a “safe place”. However, the country has a problem with crime, poverty and digital security that is more comparable to what one would find in a developing country.
If you’re looking for a safe place in these turbulent times you may wish to look for somewhere other than New Zealand.
The Economist Safe Cities Index is a report that takes account of 40 qualitative and quantitative indicators under 4 main areas : Personal safety, Infrastructure Safety, Health Security, and Digital Security. It focuses on 50 countries selected for their regional representation and availability of data.
You probably won’t come across the Safe Cities Index in the New Zealand media. Not a single location in New Zealand made the cut.
Within Australasia, Sydney and Melbourne were placed 4th and 5th respectively (see the graphic at the top of this page).
Tokyo, despite its earthquake and tsunami hazards, is placed first within the Asia-Pacific, Singapore second. At the bottom of the region lie Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington are nowhere to be seen.
These are the top 20 cities worldwide
Here’s some take-home points from the report, you may find these useful in your decision making process. They also give a hint as to why New Zealand isn’t among the safest places to live and why you should look elsewhere.
Tokyo tops the overall ranking.
The world’s most populous city is also the safest in the Index. The Japanese capital performs most strongly in the digital security category, three points ahead of Singapore in second place.Tokyo also ranks in the top five for personal safety and infrastructure safety, despite suffering regular earthquakes and being home to the world’s largest urban population (38m, according to the UN). Meanwhile, Jakarta is at the bottom of the list of 50 cities in the Index. The Indonesian capital only rises out of the bottom five places in the health security category (44).
Safety is closely linked to wealth and economic development.
Unsurprisingly,a division emerges in the Index between cities in developed markets, which tend to fall into the top half of the overall list, and cities in developing markets, which appear in the bottom half. Significant gaps in safety exist along these lines within regions. Rich Asian cities (Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka) occupy the top three positions in the Index,while poorer neighbours (Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta) fill two of the bottom three positions.
Collaboration on safety is critical in a complex urban environment.
Now that a growing number of essential systems are interconnected, city experts stress the need to bring together representatives from government, business and the community before threats to safety and security strike.Some cities have appointed an official to co-ordinate this citywide resilience. With the evolution of online threats transcending geographical boundaries, such co-ordination will increasingly be called for between cities.
The top half of the Index is generally occupied by rich cities from Europe, East Asia and North America. Meanwhile, the likes of Bangkok (39) and Ho Chi Minh City (48) join Jakarta in the bottom half, alongside all of the main cities of the BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa):São Paulo (40), Moscow (43), Delhi(42), Beijing (37) and Johannesburg (47).
Out of the 50 cities, only Zurich and Mexico City get the same rank in the overall index as they do in the indicator that measures the perception of safety among their citizens. Urban citizens in the US, for instance, tend to feel less safe than they should, based on their city’s position in the Index. The challenge for city leaders is to translate progress on safety into changing public perceptions. But cities also aspire to be attractive places to live in. So smart solutions, such as intelligent lighting, should be pursued over ubiquitous cameras or gated communities.
Small cities (500k – 1 m) account for the majority of the world’s fastest-growing cities. 11% of the urban population live in small cities, eg Frankfurt (20).Some of the cities that appear in the top ten of the Safe Cities Index are relatively small. The population of Amsterdam, which is in position 5, is roughly 780,000. Zurich, at number 7 overall and first for health security), has an even smaller population of 380,000. However, some cities face the challenge of delivering a safe urban environment for a much larger number of residents.
Deciding where to live is a personal choice for many city residents. For some, safety will be paramount. Others will prioritise culture and creativity. Two neighbours may hold opposite views on democracy and the cost of living. But often a decision will be based on a mixture of reasons: an entrepreneur looking for the best city to start a business may also intend to start a family.
To provide a broad picture of how cities perform, the report tracked how the 50 cites in the Index perform across a range of other indexes created by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Three of these indexes are at the city level (Safe Cities, Liveability Rankings, Cost of Living) and three are at the country level (Business Environment Rankings, Democracy Index, Global Food Security Index). The average rankings for the 25 best-performing cities are set out here.Toronto (8) in Canada is a consistent performer across the five other indexes, putting it top overall.
UPDATED 7AM: A man is in police custody after a woman was stabbed multiple times overnight. Police were notified at 7.05pm that a woman had been stabbed at the Sapphire Springs Holiday Park, Katikati, says a police spokesperson.
“A 42-year-old man was taken into custody in relation to the incident.
A few days later on 4th of March a woman was raped as she walked through the suburb of Selwyn. She walked from Meijer Drive onto North Belt at around 6.30 pm, it was still daylight at the time of the attack. source
New Zealand Continues its Fall in the Human Development Index, 9th is the New 1st
NZ 5th most violent country in the world
11 thoughts on “New Zealand Is Conspicuous by its Absence from the Economist’s Safe Cities Index. Updated after Riverhead Quarry and Katikati Holiday Park Attacks”
I can only go on personal experience here. In 15 years in Auckland my wife was verbally threatened and followed, we’ve also both been nearly attacked by a dog owner after commenting on how big his dog was, plus I’ve been followed by a maniac driver for calling him a litter lout after he threw trash from his car window, and many more driver related gestures. Kiwi’s are mentally unstable people who fly into a rage at the slightest ‘perceived provocation’ 25 years in the UK before this, nothing. The police in NZ are not pro active and don’t have the funds to invest in 1st world technology to prevent or solve crime. I feel safer in the UK now to be honest. Sad, but true.
I laugh hysterically, when people try to tell me that NZ is a safe country. Almost everyone I know has been mugged at least once, and about half of them have been burgled as well.
My own experience of getting mugged was of a drug crazed lunatic that ran across the road when I was cycling home from a friends place and beat the crap out of me for no reason whatsoever. I was 16 at the time. The “friends” that I had made a joke out of it, but the incident put me in hospital! I learned from the incident, but many of the people I know have regarded the place as safe, until they are either mugged, raped or defrauded.
I commented back in the day about being assaulted in N.Z ,you learn not to leave your house after dark ,the social scene her reflects this,apparently American people are maniacs however thousands of Us .Used to ride our bicycles to the Santa Monica pier once a week for live music and I never once felt or saw an episode of violence I miss civilisation so much.
The major problem that I see is the the Kiwis keep giving the false impression that the country is safe, when it isn’t. This makes people easy targets, until they become a victim of the violence (or other types of crime). The culture is one that actively SUPPORTS perpetrators and creates an environment that makes things easier for them. In essence, NZ is a criminal’s paradise.
I have seen on TV before that some cities in the world have police control rooms and you can see by CCTV suspicious activity and patrol cars are sent to investigate etc. I think I recall this idea being suggested in NZ and there was protest around invasion of privacy and human rights so I am not sure if it was ever brought in.
irony really that 2 Canadian cities and a Swedish city rank so highly given “what happened last night”
Perception of safety is an interesting thing,that’s what gets so many tourists into trouble here in N.Z,with the exception of a few locations I feel much much safer in both L.A and San Francisco than Auckland ,random senseless violence happens to people minding their own business in Auckland .
Looking at this Numbeo rating system I interpret Auckland to come in as the 208th safest city if you click on the safety index but maybe I am reading it wrong.
But isn’t it possible that the failure to include any of NZ’s cities on the index is just an oversight? It’s hard to believe NZ cities would rate below Jakarta in terms of safety for example. Isn’t it likely that NZ is so insignificsnt on a global scale that the country wasn’t even considered?
Hard to believe? You better believe it! There’s no “oversight” Brian. I bet you a million bucks you haven’t been to Jakarta. I have; and I can tell you one thing: I would never be assaulted in Jakarta, never, but here in New Zealand, I was. New Zealand is the most violent pathetic little country on Earth I’ve ever seen and I’ve travelled the world over. NZ is an outlaw Wild West full of inbred dumbass hicks and violence is the normative masculinist credo crap that’s up there w/ rugby, beer and being ignorant brutes. Probably because the education system is down the tubes; I also taught in NZ. Jakarta is much safer than any NZ city, hands down! I’ll feel much safer w/ Indonesian-folk than w/ Kiwi-folk 🙂 It’s hilarious how Kiwis like Brian bury their head in the sand. Oh yes! you’re right about one thing: “NZ is so insignificant” 🙂
I have friends in Indonesia. I have found them to the some of the warmest and most genuine people I’ve come across. Genuinely helpful and very nice. Their friendliness is real. By contrast, New Zealand friendliness is superficial. Kiwis won’t hesitate to stab you in the back at a moment’s notice, or rip you off, EVEN IF YOU ARE A FRIEND. Their friendliness is more along the lines of the superficial charm you would expect from a psychopath.
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