The Economist Intelligence Unit has published its annual Safe Cities index, and this year's edition includes two notable changes: Hong Kong has fallen dramatically thanks to the violent pro-democracy protest movement that has upended life in the city over the past six months. This year, HK's rank dropped to No. 20 from No. 9 last year.
Finally, Washington DC made a dramatic leap into the top ten from the mid-20s last year.
On a region-by-region breakdown, the Asia-Pacific region continued to dominate the list, with Sydney, Seoul and Melbourne joining Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore in the top 10.
Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Toronto rounded out the top of the list, while London and New York each improved six spots to take 14th and 15th place.
The index ranks 60 cities on five continents based on several safety-related factors like digital, health, infrastructure and personal security. Rankings are based on crime rates alone, but on preparedness: do these cities have dedicated cybersecurity teams? Do they have a disaster contingency plan? Have they adopted a community-policing-based model?
"Overall, while wealth is among the most important determinants of safety, the levels of transparency - and governance - correlate as closely as income with index scores," said Naka Kondo, the editor of the latest Safe Cities report. "The research also highlights how different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined - that it is rare to find a city with very good results in one safety pillar and lagging in others."
It's worth noting that Washington DC's catapult into the top 10 is attributed mostly to changes in the Economists' methodology.
Many of the world's safest cities are in the Asia-Pacific region (Tokyo, Singapore etc.), but the region is also home to some of the lowest-scoring cities on the index: Yangon (Myanmar) came in at no. 58, while Karachi (Pakistan) came in at 57. Dhaka, Bangladesh, filled spot No. 56, while the Indian capital of New Delhi came in at No. 53.
Digital security was a particularly weak spot for the industry.
"APAC cities perform well across the categories of health security, infrastructure security and personal security, but their North American counterparts generally fare better in digital security, accounting for seven of the top ten cities in this category," Safe Cities editor Kondo said.
Of course, numbers alone rarely tell the full story. Reckless behavior could leave unsuspecting tourists at risk in any of the cities listed above.