Experiment exposes most and least honest cities in the world

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
Experiment exposes most and least honest cities in the world

How honest is your city?

An experiment by Reader's Digest reporters in 16 cities around the world found honest folks on the streets of Helsinki, Finland, which topped their list of most honest cities, but the selection of people they encountered in Lisbon, Portugal, proved far less trustworthy.

Reader's Digest reported it dropped 12 wallets containing a phone number, cash and other personal items in public spaces in each city, for a total of 192 wallets dropped. Nearly half of those who found the wallets returned them to the reporters, but each city had a different share of good Samaritans.

In Helsinki, 11 of the 12 wallets made their way back, while in Lisbon, only one wallet was returned. New York landed high on the honesty scale at fourth on the list, while among the worst were Madrid, Prague and Zurich.

[ Related: British man has wallet returned after 35 years ]

No Canadian cities were included in the experiment, but in a similar study last year involving cell phones placed in North American cities, seven out of 10 of the phones were returned in Ottawa, placing it at the top of that honesty list, according to CBC.

This summer, an Irish tourist in Toronto commended Canadians on their honesty after someone turned in her grandson's lost wallet without taking any of the $700 inside, according to Sun News Network. A woman that had recently moved from Bolivia to Calgary with her husband last year told the Calgary Sun she was astonished after a bus driver returned her wallet, which contained $1,500 cash.

These stories, while they might only reflect the tales Canadians most like to tell about themselves, suggest the Great White North could, maybe, give some of the cities at the top of the Reader's Digest list a run for their honesty.