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Beautiful and interesting cities with rich histories can be found around the world. Unfortunately, some cities are set apart not by their beauty or history but the relative safety of tourists in those cities. How can you know if a city is safe to visit? You may want to leave emotion and sentiment aside in favor of more objective data from the likes of international agencies such as UNODC or step into another's shoes and review experience-based data sources such as Numbeo.

  • Numbeo publishes crime level ratings for 378 cities around the world. These ratings are based on surveys of visitors who answer questions on the Numbeo website regarding their perceptions of the safety of walking at night, concerns about muggings, robberies, and carjackings, and so on. 
  • A Numbeo crime level lower than 20 is considered "very low", so if you are risk adverse, cities within this category might be for you. Consider visiting Abu Dhabi, Munich, Singapore, Tokyo, or Tbilisi. By the same token, you might want to avoid visiting Caracas, San Pedro Sula, Pietermaritzburg, and Fortaleza based on the "very high" crime levels (scores of 80+) in these cities.
  • Risk adversity could actually cost you the chance to visit most of Latin America and Africa, which have no ranked cities within the very low or low crime level rankings on Numbeo.

A comparison of the Numbeo crime index to socio-economic indicators from the OECD shows that crime levels are higher on average in cities with higher youth dependency ratios and population density. In other words, if the number of young people (ages 14 and below) is high relative to the number of working-age people (ages 15-64) then the crime level in the city will probably be higher. The same scenario plays out with population density within a city: the greater the population living in a city's core areas, the higher the crime level.

  • For example, Mexico City - where 95 percent of the population lives in its core areas and the ratio of youth to working age adults is 34.5 - has the world's 16th highest homicide rate and a "high" rating on the Numbeo crime index. According to the World Bank, more than half of the crimes in Mexico are committed by its youth.

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