​Jakarta comes in dead last in The Economist’s “Safe Cities Report,” but is our city really that dangerous?

How safe do you feel living in Jakarta? According to a newly released report by The Economist magazine’s Intelligence Unit, you should feel terrified. Jakarta came in dead last in their ranking of the safest cities in the world.

The Economist’s “Safe Cities Index 2015” report (warning, link goes to the full 42-page long PDF report) analyzed 50 cities on a variety of quantitative and qualitative safety indicators, including digital security, health security, infrastructure and personal safety. 

Tokyo topped the list at #1, followed by Singapore.

Jakarta came in at the bottom with #50, with even #49 Tehran doing slightly better than us. Ouch.

So what, according to the Economist, makes Jakarta such a terribly dangerous city to live in? 

“The capital of Indonesia is third from the bottom when it comes to digital security and infrastructure safety. Its highest rank is on health security, at number 44, although it falls to the bottom again in certain subindicators, such as the number of doctors per 1,000 people. The two cities are also far apart for personal safety. Although Jakarta is not the worst performer when it comes to violent crime, the incidence of petty crime is high. By contrast, violent and petty crime affects relatively few residents of Tokyo.”

As a small comfort to us, the report says the 50 cities chosen for ranking were based on factors such as regional representation and availability of data.

“Therefore, it should not be considered a comprehensive list of the world’s safest cities (ie, a city coming number 50 in the list does not make it the most perilous place to live in the world).”

Gee, thanks The Economist. 

While we’d be hard-pressed to rebut such an esteemed publication we would like to point out that if you look at Jakarta through a certain set of metrics, its safety record actually looks pretty good compared to a lot of cities. 

Take, for example, this paragraph from the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council’s “2013 Crime and Safety Report: Jakarta”: 

“Jakarta has a population of approximately 10,000,000 residents, including foreigners. For 2012, there were reported 12,999 violent crimes: 132 murders; 85 rapes; 2,843 aggravated assaults; 8,526 burglaries; 1,630 thefts; and 7,340 vehicle thefts. The general crime rates on a per capita basis must be taken into context as Indonesia’s crime rate is lower than similar crimes reported in many large, western hemisphere cities.”

Just to compare, Bangkok’s homicide rate (per 100,000 per people) is 4, Amsterdam’s is 4.4 and New York City’s is 5.6 (based on data from 2009). According to OSAC’s statistics, Jakarta’s would be a 1.3, meaning you’re over four times more likely to get murdered in New York than Jakarta. (Yay?)

At any rate, you can read the full text of The Economist’s “Safe Cities Index 2015” report and decide for yourself how terrified you should be living here.

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