Safety in the broader context

The Safe Cities Index 2015 report, based on 50 cities worldwide, considers the idea of “safety" in a broader context. The report takes into account more than just low crime rates: it also looks at safety in terms of health, reliable infrastructure, and digital security. 

Digital security, for example, includes the risk of identity theft or computer viruses, and whether the city has a dedicated cyber-security team. Health security refers to how safe the physical environment is (air and water quality), and the level of healthcare options available to the city’s inhabitants. Infrastructure security involves how robust a city’s buildings and roads are, and how well the city can respond to natural disasters. Personal security considers the risk of violence and (petty) crime, and the performance of local police.

Amsterdam scores well in all categories

Amsterdam scores well across the board. Compared to the other European cities in the index, Amsterdam took second place in terms of personal safety and infrastructure security. It also came in third place in terms of digital security, which is especially impressive, seeing as most European cities tend to lag behind their American counterparts in this category. Amsterdam also scored high in liveability, business environment, and the level of democracy.

People’s perceptions of safety also play a key role. As the BBC pointed out in an article about the survey, Amsterdam "has a laid-back vibe that puts people at ease," which is almost as important as what any statistics have to say.