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Busted: Davao is NOT the #1 safest city in the world, according to Numbeo’s crime index rate

Supporters and fan pages of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte have been posting and sharing an article touting Davao City as the number one safest city in the world. They also posted congratulatory messages and expressed their happiness over this achievement by the city where Duterte has been mayor for decades. Some are even wishing that next time, the entire Philippines could be the safest country in the world.

These Facebook posts are just two examples of those spreading this claim.


If you click on the link, you will be redirected to an article showing a table with 10 cities, having Davao, Philippines on top with the lowest crime index of 24.77. According to the article, the data were obtained in July 2015 by Numbeo, “the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.”

The article also lauded Davao City’s huge leap from being number 4, then number 8, and eventually number 1 as the safest city in the world, crediting this achievement to the “dedication of the authorities of Davao to make the city safe.”


And as one of the commenters has asked, why use the July 2015 data? According to the Facebook post, it was because the site started gathering data since July 2015. But according to Numbeo, crime indices are published periodically and they already have data for 2016.

Davao City ranked as the 47th safest city in the 2016 crime index.

As for 2015 mid-year crime index, Davao City ranked 20th.

How does Numbeo come up with the data?

The site surveys several factors about the crime and safety in the cities, such as the following:

  • How serious you feel the level of crime is
  • Change of crime level in the past three years
  • Walking during daylight
  • Walking during night
  • How worried are you of being mugged or robbed
  • Worries of having a car stolen (or things from the car)
  • Worries of being physically attacked by strangers
  • Worries of being insulted or pestered by anybody, while in the street or any other public place
  • Worries of being subject to a physical attack because of your skin colour, ethnic origin or religion
  • Problem of people using and dealing drugs
  • How much is the problem property crimes?
  • How much is the problem violent crimes?

It is also worth noting that Numbeo is “designed to enable anyone to contribute or modify content. Numbeo uses the wisdom of the crowd to obtain the most reliable information possible.”

This means that the ranking of the cities in Numbeo are based on the opinion of its contributors or survey takers, so the site’s rankings should be taken with a grain of salt.

If you Google about the safest cities in the world, one of the search results that you’ll find is the study done by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The #1 safest city in the world is Tokyo, Japan.  The other cities in the top 10 are Singapore, Osaka, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Sydney, Zurich, Toronto, Melbourne, and New York.

The cities were assessed based on health security, digital security, personal safety, and infrastructure city and were given a score out of 100.

So far, only Numbeo has given such ranking to Davao City. Yes, the city is possibly one of the safest cities in the country, but proclaiming it as the safest in the world might be a bit of an overstatement.

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