Safe Cities Index ranks Singapore second in digital security

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske

The Economist Intelligence Unit released the third edition of the Safe Cities Index (SCI) at the Safe Cities Summit in Singapore in August 2019.

The index, which is the centre piece of a research project sponsored by NEC Corporation, ranks 60 cities worldwide across five continents. It measures the multifaceted nature of urban safety, with indicators organised across four pillars: digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.

Cities in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region make up six of the top ten safest cities with Tokyo taking the top spot for the third time in a row.

Singapore comes overall second this year, also ranking second in digital security. This is based on security input factors such as the privacy policies in place, citizen awareness of digital threats, public-private partnerships, the level of technology employed, and the presence of dedicated cyber-security teams. The study also considered the risk of local malware threats, the percentage of computers infected and the percentage with internet access.

Digital security is shown to be important as it correlates closely with other aspects of a city’s security. This is because of a greater reliance on data for both urban critical infrastructure and business. Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo noted that “cyber-security encompasses everything from corporations, to power plants, to even outer space.” Accordingly, it requires extensive stakeholder co-operation to achieve.

However, digital security is not a silver bullet for a country’s security. A safe city is one where efforts by citizens, stakeholder groups and authorities in a wide range of fields to reduce and protect against various kinds of risks mutually re-enforce to create a generally secure environment.

Nonetheless, Technology is not only a potential vulnerability. Digital security can attract those seeking safe and secure environments to conduct business, underscoring its importance in today’s urban landscape.