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March 17, 2005

Canadian cities scored well

Switzerland remains world model for safe cities

LONDON

Luxembourg is the world’s safest city, but Swiss cities lead the way for combining safety with high quality of life, according to a survey released Monday.

All five Canadian cities in the survey scored well, with Vancouver coming in third for overall quality of life. Geneva and Zurich were tied atop that list, with Vancouver and Vienna, Austria, tied for third. The German cities of Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf tied for fifth.

Toronto was ranked 14th for quality of life, Ottawa was ranked 20th, Montreal was 22nd and Calgary was 25th.

The Swiss cities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich ranked just behind Luxembourg for safety, along with the Finnish capital, Helsinki, said the survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

The safety survey evaluated 215 locations for crime levels and internal stability.

All the Canadian cities covered by the survey appear in the top 20 rankings for personal safety and security. Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver rank jointly in position 18 with scores of 112.

In the United States, the five safest cities tied in 45th place: Honolulu; Houston; Lexington, Kentucky; San Francisco; and Winston Salem, N.C. New York was 58th, while Atlanta had the lowest U.S. ranking at 90.

In Britain, the top-ranked city as far as safety is concerned is Glasgow, Scotland (39), followed by Birmingham (51) and London (69).

“The top-ranking cities for personal safety and security are in politically stable countries with good international relations and sustainable economic growth,’’ said Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer. “Most of the low-scoring cities are in countries with civil unrest, little law enforcement and high levels of crime.’’

The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was ranked the world’s least safe city, followed by Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Bangui, Central African Republic; the Nigerian cities of Port Harcourt and Lagos; and Bogota, Colombia.

In its overall quality-of-life survey, Mercer evaluated 39 criteria such as crime, health, education and transport.

Other cities at the top in that category are: Auckland, New Zealand; Bern; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Sydney, Australia.

Honolulu and San Francisco ranked highest in the United States at joint 25th, while New York and London tied at 39th.

In Asia, the top three cities were Singapore and Tokyo, both 34th, and Yokohama, Japan (36).

In South America, the top quality-of-life cities are Montevideo, Uruguay (76) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (78).

The Associated Press

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