In the Economist’s latest report on city safety, Safe Cities Index 2017, Tokyo has claimed the top spot. Covering 60 cities, the Economist ranks cities on a number of issues crucial for keeping citizens safe. Part of Tokyo’s landing in the top spot may have to do with the culture – for example, the Economist cited that according to the police department citizens handed in a record ¥3.67b in lost money. But it has a lot to do with the government’s efforts. They have done a better job protecting infrastructure for the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics. They also have focused on digital security and health security and are ranking near the top in those two categories.

Outside of highlighting Tokyo, the report focused on why cities have become more vulnerable as they have grown – especially in regard to digital security. There were 31 cities with more than 10 million inhabitants in 2016. And the more cities grow, especially at such a rapid rate, the greater the strain on the administration and infrastructure.

The report also discussed the more intensified terrorist attacks. The growth of CCTV and tools such as data analytics and AI can and have enhanced security provided by law enforcement. However, new digital technologies connecting grids, IoT sensors, etc. also bring along security risks that need to be addressed. The rush to adopt the latest and greatest smart city tools must come with a sound plan for keeping this data and new digital infrastructure safe.

The Safe Cities Index is measuring cities against each other and not in absolute safety. Unfortunately, according to the Economist, there has not bee an incredible improvement since they measured everything in 2015. While it may be difficult to keep up with all of the new digital threats and terrorist threats, governments, working alongside innovative companies, must keep fighting for safety. Safety is the foundation of smart cities.

Read more on The Economist.