Vast majority of UAE residents have never been a victim of crime

They are a small minority, but many of those unlucky enough to be hit by crime say the experience has led to emotions including shock, panic and depression.

Inside the Abu Dhabi Police Department’s central operations room. 85 per cent of UAE residents polled say they have not been a victim of crime Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police Department
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ABU DHABI // An overwhelming majority of residents have not been a victim of a crime but those that have suffered fear, anger and insomnia, a poll found.

The YouGov survey, the first study of its kind in the UAE exploring the perception of crime in the UAE, found 85 per cent of respondents have not been a victim of crime.

Of those that have, the majority felt anger (49 per cent) and shock (46 per cent). Others said they felt fear, depression, anxiety and panic while some reported feeling a loss of confidence, difficulty sleeping and being tearful.

Abu Dhabi resident Praveen Kumar said he was a victim of crime a couple of years ago.

The 23-year-old Indian expatriate was taking his wife out for a celebratory meal after she passed her driving test when he became involved in a road-rage incident over a car parking space.

“I was taking her for dinner for a treat with a couple of my friends,” he said. “While returning back to my car there was a car waiting behind mine for the space.

“While we were about to get in the car another car came and he started to honk. I think there is already somebody who is waiting and he should get the preference,” he said.

Mr Kumar said the second motorist became enraged that he was not given the parking space and started shouting and gesturing.

He was worried he might be attacked but luckily another car parking space became available.

“I doubt if he had not got that parking space something would have happened that day,” he said.

“I wanted to complain about this but it was very late at night and my family were with me and my child was also there. So I could not go to the police station and complain what happened. But it was a hard, painful situation.

“For sure, I was going to be attacked. That was scary. Totally scary.”

Despite the incident, he feels the UAE is generally a safe place to live.

“Honestly speaking if there is an argument I always try and avoid it,” said Mr Kumar. “[The UAE] is a safe place if you don’t go here and there if you don’t interfere with things. I would say 98 per cent it is safe but two per cent here and there things happen.”

Of those who have been a victim of crime, 74 per cent reported it to the police and almost two-thirds (62 per cent) agreed the police where helpful in dealing with their incident.

The survey was commissioned by The National to ask citizens and expatriates about their experiences of crime, the police, and the judicial system.

It questioned 1008 people - 131 Emiratis, 285 Arab expatriates, 530 Asian expatriates and 42 Western expatriates and 12 others living in the seven emirates.

As The National revealed on Sunday, almost half of residents are worried about being a victim of crime in the UAE but less than a quarter (24 per cent) believed crime is a problem in their local residential area.

Rosana Cabunor, 37, said she enjoys living in Abu Dhabi.

“I did not encounter any criminals here. So far, so good,” said the HR assistant.

Others agreed.

“Yes of course it is safe. I do not worry about crime here,” said Nemencio Santos, a 31-year-old coffee shop worker in Abu Dhabi.

Najeeb, an Indian expatriate living in Abu Dhabi, said he never fears of being a victim of crime.

“No, it is ok in the UAE. It is very safe,” said the 30-year-old who has been living in the UAE for 10 years.

“It is better than other countries. [Walking] at night is no problem - no bother. I feel safe day or night. Women too - they feel safe walking alone. I see it all the time in the UAE.”

Of the survey respondents, 260 are residents in Abu Dhabi, 461 live in Dubai and 161 reside in Sharjah while the remaining 126 respondents are from the Northern Emirates of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

It questioned nationalities including Algerian, Bahraini, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, Mauritian, Moroccan, Omani, Palestinian, Qatari, Saudi, Sudanese, Syrian, Emirati, Yemeni, Indian and Pakistanis.