According to Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Rankings, Helsinki is the second safest city in the world. The criteria emphasised stability, crime, law enforcement and the justice system, and freedom of speech. The Rule of Law Index report published in 2019 found Finns to be the world's most law-abiding citizens. Payments are generally made on time, which indicates economic safety and financial self-management and to take care of everyday obligations. A recent study placed Finland among the top five countries in Europe in terms of the overall economic well-being of consumers. The financial literacy of Finns is also among the best in Europe. Helsinki has even been called the most honest city in the world: the classic lost wallet test indicates that a wallet on the street is most likely returned to its owner or the lost and found office.
In Helsinki, everyone from the president to the best-known celebrities move freely about among other citizens, be it for a jog or playing pond hockey, visiting the grocery store or taking a bus or tram. Very few feel the need to employ special safety measures in their everyday lives.
Helsinki is seen as a safe place to live
Helsinkians feel that the public transport system is safe. A telltale sign is that small school children take the tram, bus or train on their own.
Helsinki citizens also enjoy their hometown. A study from 2018 showed that nearly 80 percent of locals felt that it is safe to move around their own city district on weekend evenings; the same figure for the city centre was 64.
Contact with neighbours also tends to add to perceived safety and living comfort. Researchers have looked at how much people talk to one another and help their neighbours out. In 2018, 60 percent of Helsinkians reported that they speak with their neighbours at least once a week, and one in three received or gave assistance to their neighbours at least once a month.
Finland is the world's most stable country
The Finnish people's trust in emergency services, the police and the public safety is strong. The perceived feeling of safety is enhanced by the knowledge that help is readily available. Police, ambulance and fire engines normally arrive at their needed locations quickly in the capital region.
According to the Fragile States Index, Finland is the world's most stable nation. Finland's aim is to be the world's safest nation by 2030. Measures working towards this goal are being constantly implemented. The level of safety has become significantly better over the years: for instance, the probability of falling victim to homicide was double in the 1980s compared to the present day.
A study by the analytics company Gallup showed that Finns have the second highest feeling of safety in the world, alongside Norwegians and Icelanders. The study measured confidence in the police force and in one's own safety, as well as the probability of theft or assault.
Institutions enjoy trust in Finland
In Finland, also individuals with an international background trust the Finnish authorities. Their confidence in the police force and the justice, education and healthcare systems is strong, according to a recent study conducted amongst the English, Estonian, Russian, Arabic and Somali-speaking populations.
Citizen trust in institutions enhances their work, adds to a feeling of wanting to participate, and increases contentment with society.
The transparency of Finnish society manifests itself, for example, in freedom of press and freedom of speech. Press freedom in Finland is the second highest in the world, and 90 percent of Finns read newspapers on a weekly basis.
Helsinki reacts to global issues
While Helsinki is one of the world's safest cities, the city is not immune to global issues. A safety study from 2018 showed that climate change is currently the biggest worry of Helsinkians.
The city has however something to show for in addressing wide challenges. Helsinki is committed to ambitious aims to solve climate change: the city aims to be carbon neutral by the year 2035. Regardless of crises like the Coronavirus pandemic, Helsinki continues on its path to combat climate change all the more efficiently.
An indication of its ability to react to problems is that so far Finland has done better than most countries regarding the Covid-19 crisis. Mortality is relatively low, the rates of infections have remained under control, and the pandemic has taken less of a toll on gross domestic product than was first expected.
In addition, Helsinki has managed to protect at-risk groups The city offers a help service in collaboration with local parishes through which Helsinkians who are over 70 years of age can find people to talk to and affordable help to run errands such a supermarket and pharmacy visits.
There is a belief in Helsinki that overall societal wellbeing necessitates caring for the most vulnerable. People here get treatment and help regardless of their wealth or social standing.