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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Index: Despite ranking, perception of public safety in Qatar high

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Doha skyline
Doha skyline

Doha residents feel much safer than statistics would suggest they actually are, according to a new report that assesses and ranks dozens of cities around the world.

Qatar’s capital came in 29th place out of 50 cities in the latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index: Assessing urban security in the digital age.

According to the index, Doha trailed GCC neighbor Abu Dhabi, but came out ahead of Kuwait City (36th) and Riyadh (46th), the only other Gulf cities mentioned in the report.

The highest rankings went to Asian cities, with Tokyo taking first place, Singapore in second and the Japanese city of Osaka coming in third.

Using statistics from previous EIU reports, the World Health Organization, internet security firm Kaspersky and interviews with world experts in their field, the study scored each city across four areas: personal safety, infrastructure safety, digital security and health security.

Each category includes up to 8 sub-indicators, such as policy measures, levels of spending and frequency of vehicle accidents.

Doha numbers

In comparing how Doha did in the different categories, it fared particularly well in terms of personal safety, coming in 14th place. This put it well ahead of Abu Dhabi (32nd), Riyadh (42nd) and Kuwait City (43nd).

The factors taken into account included the prevalence of petty and violent crime, the role of the police, and residents’ general perception of safety, using data from online statistics site numbeo.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In fact, Doha residents said they felt their city is very safe. These views pushed up the Qatari capital’s rankings to 9th place out of all 50 cities in terms of public perception.

This feeling of safety could in part be a reflection of traditionally low levels of media reporting of crime in Qatar, which the index stated is a trend throughout the region.

Conversely, residents in North American cities felt less safe than their crime statistics suggest they should, the report stated, adding: “In the Middle East, citizens should be more safety conscious than they are.”

Sick cities

Doha did not fare so well in the field of health security, although none of the cities in the region score highly in this category. Doha came in at 41st place, behind Kuwait (39th), but ahead of Riyadh (43th) and Abu Dhabi, which was ranked near the bottom at 45th place.

This category depended on environmental policies, access to and quality of healthcare, life expectancy, infant mortality and water and air quality.

MDPS air quality study
MDPS air quality study

One element pulling Qatar’s rankings down was that it fared poorly in international assessments for air pollution. Data released last year by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests Doha is among the world’s most polluted cities.

Additionally, the Environment Statistics Annual Report 2013, issued by Qatar’s Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics in November last year found that harmful airborne particles exceeded recommended levels for 159 days of the year in 2012 (its latest figures).

Infrastructure and online

Despite efforts to boost cyber security in recent years, Doha’s score for the category of digital security remained relatively low at 31st place, well behind Abu Dhabi at 9th place.

Factoring into this ranking: the resources dedicated to ensuring residents can go online without fear of violations of privacy or identity theft; the reliance of a city on digital infrastructure (smart traffic lights etc); frequency of identity theft and the estimated number of computers infected with viruses.

The final category of infrastructure safety scored cities based on factors including the safety of buildings and roads, resilience against disaster, enforcement of transport safety, frequency of accidents and pedestrian deaths.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Doha came in at 36th, perhaps reflecting its ongoing battle to improve safety on the increasingly congested road network.

Earlier this week, a study led by Qatar Road Safety Studies Center based at Qatar University found that the number of traffic accidents in the state has increase by 560 percent in the 18 years between 1995 and 2013.

This equated to an annual average increase for all types of road accidents of 14 percent, which is much higher than the average population increase of 8 percent each year over the same period.

Do you think Qatar is safe? Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

The universe is a very unsafe place (for life). Whatever humans install for ‘safety’ doesn’t make much sense the moment a super nova explodes nearby. It’s better to live fast and furious.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

no

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Rape is a huge problem in Qatar but women don’t report it for various reasons. Just because it’s not reported doesn’t make you safe.

Hitting the roads here where many potenting murderers drive tells you all you need to know about personal safety

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yup, my Filipina friends are very worried about rape–and they know if it happens it won’t be prosecuted or reported in the press. I don’t trust the stats.

procan
procan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

so who was number one in the world ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  procan

No.1 for rape? I think per capita South Africa still holds that record.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

And 86th on the livability index…

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

According to the same Economist report..

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

“It depends how you tell it” to coin a phrase, Qatar is the per-capita world leader in wealth, diabetes, pollution, and deaths on the road. However, I’ve always felt very safe in Doha (except on the roads).

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Yes, it certainly feels safe, but I always get a faint sense of menace about the crimes being committed behind big compound and palace walls, mostly in terms of labour abuses and exploitation, rather than rape and violent assault, although that no doubt is still a factor too. This place would surely be in the top ten of countries with unreported crimes per capita, should that kind of data be available, which, conveniently, it won’t ever be. Especially as domestic workers are excluded from the supposedly new stringent labour laws. Urgh…..3 months and counting……….

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

I can’t speak for what goes on behind compound walls, but I have a lot of first hand experience of what goes on behind Palace walls.
The high-ranking (whatever that means) Qatari’s I’ve had the privilege of meeting have been exemplary Human Beings: devoted to family, acutely concerned for the welfare of those working for them, erudite, compassionate, generous and just all-round ‘Good Eggs’.

Mr. B
6 years ago

Qatar is extremely safe, and I’m often surprised to see that few indexes take into account one big reason for that safety is the extremely high ex-pat population. Franky, the overwhelmingly numbers of ex-pats come to the Gulf to make an honest living; if they were criminally inclined they’d seek work back in their home countries or near abroad.

Not to imply Qataris commit all the crimes; their wealth and safety nets makes is so that less likely crimes of passion are all they’re interested in.

The lesson for other states is that immigrants don’t bring crime, they lower it.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

#truth

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Crime and safety are relative to nationality. Most Western expats and Qataris enjoy a high degree of personal safety (expect on the roads). My guess is that if you were a Nepalese construction worker or Sri Lankan maid, your perspective would be different.

However, this contrasts sharply with the experiences of the poorer expats who routinely are victims of crimes–withholding of passports, withholding of pay and benefits, forced to work in unsafe conditions, human trafficking, etc. etc. While not the same as a mugging, these are crimes in Qatar with real victims, and they are wildly underreported and rarely prosecuted.

Perhaps a more accurate lesson is that segregation and subjugation of the underclass enables the upperclass a higher standard of living as safer experience.

Mr. B
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

This website shows a fascinating look into just how unsafe Qatar’s roads truly are. http://roadskillmap.com/#39.198205348894795,-75.41015624999999,5

While it’s true it’s much more dangerous than most Western European states, it’s also not terribly far behind the United States, and does much better than nearby Oman, Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia.

But I definitely take your second point. Human rights abuses are crimes and are naturally unreported in Qatar; that being said, I don’t think that undermines my idea that immigrants cause much less crime than many nativists around the world propose.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

I have difficulty believing the absence of Scandinavian cities at the top of the list. Apart from Stockholm in 4th, none of the other cities feature.

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