PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur has emerged 32nd out of 60 major cities in a global Safe Cities Index 2021 carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), improving slightly from the 35th position it occupied in 2019.
The Federal capital had an overall score of 66.6 this time round, or just above average, compared to 66.3 the last time two years ago.
Copenhagen came in tops followed by Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Wellington, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Stockholm.
The Safe Cities Index is a global, policy benchmarking tool developed to measure urban safety measured by 76 distinct factors across five broad pillars.
These are personal, infrastructure, health, digital and environmental security.
Kuala Lumpur scored 81 for environmental security, infrastructure (69), health (64), personal (60.1) and digital security (59.1).
It also came in ahead of cities such as Dubai, Beijing, Istanbul, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila.
The Safe Cities Index was first launched in 2015 with 44 indicators and 50 cities.
The EIU said since then, the index has been updated once every two years, increasing city coverage as well as strengthening the framework to include emerging challenges to urban safety.
It said this year, the framework has been further updated to reflect the dynamic nature of the urban safety landscape with a special focus on the Covid-19 pandemic impact.
"Within each of the five broad pillars, the relevant indicators are grouped into inputs of safety, such as policies or personnel dedicated to some aspect of security and outputs, anything from air pollution levels to crime rates.
"In short, outputs measure how safe a city currently is, while the inputs indicate which cities are doing the right things to enhance security. Both are essential to understanding the security situation," it said.
The EIU said the experience of Covid-19 shows the need for a more holistic approach to health security and its closer integration into urban resilience planning.
"It is still too early to draw detailed conclusions on the implications of Covid-19 for health security.
"The pandemic continues at the time of writing. Even if it were over, robust, internationally comparable data on what has happened is still rare.
"Nonetheless, the need to rethink health system preparedness is already clear," it said.
Digital security at the city level, it said, is often insufficient for current needs and insecurity will multiply as urban areas increasingly pursue smart city ambitions.
The index data also shows that internet connectivity is becoming ubiquitous, even in lower-middle-income cities.
It said although 59 of the 60 cities have started the process of becoming a smart city or expressed the ambition of becoming one, the current levels of digital security was worrying.