Arab countries score low on crime, highest on safety in world survey

A police patrol car in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where crime levels are low and people say they are the safest (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 August 2017
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Arab countries score low on crime, highest on safety in world survey

DUBAI: Arab cities are the safest places to live in the Asia, Africa and the world, according to the website Numbeo, which analysis data on crime and safety statistics and people’s perceptions.
The list, which is based on the latest information, provides two sets of numbers for the 334 cities listed, a score for crime levels and another for safety.
Abu Dhabi was rated the safest country and for the lowest crime level, both in Asia and the world, while Tunisia came top for safety and low crime in Africa.
The figures are created from a series of surveys and research that look at statistics from countries, but also people’s perceptions of crime and safety.
“(The) Crime Index is an estimation of overall level of crime in a given city or a country,” the Numbeo website explains.
“We consider crime levels lower than 20 as very low, crime levels between 20 and 40 as being low, crime levels between 40 and 60 as being moderate, crime levels between 60 and 80 as being high and finally crime levels higher than 80 as being very high.”
The Safety Index is scored the other way, with the higher number indicating a safer city.
Abu Dhabi scored 13.22 for crime and 86.78 for safety. In contrast San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, scored 84.25 for crime and 15.75 for safety.
While these figures put Abu Dhabi at the top for low crime and safety both in Asia and globally, Dhaka in Bangladesh scored 69.92 for crime and 30.08 for safety.

The top 10 Asian cities with low crime and high safety levels
City Crime Safety
Abu Dhabi, UAE 13.54 86.46
Doha, Qatar 15.87 84.13
Singapore 16.90 83.10
Taipei, Taiwan 17.38 82.62
Tokyo, Japan 19.38 80.62
Dubai, UAE 19.52 80.48
Hong Kong 20.07 79.93
Osaka, Japan 20.13 79.87
Tbilisi, Georgia 20.37 79.63
Bursa, Turkey 21.12 78.88



Perhaps surprising was Kuala Lumpur which had the second worst crime levels of the 91 countries listed for Asia, at 68.53 and 31.47 for safety. Baghdad, in Iraq came 16 with a crime figure of 57.47 and safety scoring 42.53.
Doha came a close second after the UAE capital, scoring 15.71 for crime and 84.29 for safety.
Dubai came in at 331 in the world list and 83 – just five places behind Abu Dhabi – for Asia, with a crime number of 19.52 and 80.48 for safety.

The top 10 African cities with low crime and high safety levels
City Crime Safety
Tunis, Tunisia 36.11 63.89
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 44.46 55.54
Algiers, Algeria 49.99 50.01
Harare, Zimbabwe 51.98 48.02
Casablanca, Morocco 53.24 46.76
Cairo, Egypt 55.96 44.04
Tripoli, Libya 58.06 41.94
Nairobi, Kenya 63.03 36.97
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 65.80 34.20
Lagos, Nigeria 68.08 31.92



Meanwhile Tunis in Tunisia had the lowest crime level for Africa with 36.15 and the highest for safety with 63.85. This was in contrast with Pietermaritzburg with crime at 82.09 and 17.91 for safety.
What the researchers do concede is that a high crime level score can indicate a greater level of reported incidents than other places that score lower rather than a higher crime level.


Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

Updated 21 March 2019
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Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

  • Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana

HAVANA: Cuba’s love affair with 1950s-era American cars is still intact, but the communist-run island also has a lingering attachment to a stalwart of Soviet-era leftovers, the motorcycle sidecar.
Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana.
The retro appeal gets a lot of attention from tourists “but here it’s common, normal,” says Enrique Oropesa Valdez.
Valdez should know. The 59-year old makes a living as an instructor teaching people how to handle the sidecar in Havana’s traffic, where riders seem able to squeeze the machines through the narrowest of gaps.
And they’ve built up an intense loyalty among the mend-and-make do Cubans.
“They’re very practical,” according to Alejandro Prohenza Hernandez, a restaurateur who says his pampered red 30-year-old Jawa 350 is like a second child.
Cheaper and more practical than the gas-guzzling, shark-finned US behemoths, the bikes are used for anything from the family runabout to trucking goods and workers’ materials.
“A lot of foreigners really like to take photos of it,” says Hernandez. “I don’t know, I think they see it as something from another time.”
Cuba lags several decades behind the rest of the world due to a crippling US embargo, so the makers’ badges on the ubiquitous sidecars speak of a bygone world.
Names like Jawa from the former Czechoslovakia and MZ from the former East Germany, as well as antiquated Russian Urals, Dniepers and Jupiters.
Havana’s military acquired them from big brother Moscow at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 70s, for use by state factories and farms. Over the years, they gradually filtered down to the general public.
That’s how Jose Antonio Ceoane Nunez, 46, found his bright red Jupiter 3.
“When the Cuban government bought sidecars from the Russians in 1981, it was for state-owned companies,” he said.
Later, the companies “sold them on to the most deserving employees,” he said. His father, who worked for a state body, passed the bike on to him.
“Even if the sidecar gets old. I’ll never sell it because it’s what I use to move around. It’s my means of transport in Cuba, and there aren’t many other options,” said Nunez.
Valdez himself has a cherished green 1977 Ural.
“I like it a lot, firstly because it’s the means of transport for my family, and secondly because it’s a source of income.”
And it costs less than a car, still out of reach of many Cubans.
Settled on the island with his Cuban wife, 38-year-old Frenchman Philippe Ruiz didn’t realize at first how ubiquitous the motorcycle sidecar was.
“When I began to be interested, I suddenly realized that I was seeing 50 to 100 a day!”
Renovating a house at the time, he saw that many sidecars were being used to transport building equipment.
Through an advert on the Internet, he bought a blue 1979 Ural a few months ago for 6,500 euros.
“It’s a year older than me and in worse shape,” he said. “Soon he had to strip the bike down and “start repairing everything.”
With few spare parts available in Cuba, “people have to bring them in from abroad,” which slows down repairs.
But he has no regrets. An experienced motorcyclist, he’s discovered a whole new side to his passion by riding the Russian machine.
“It’s very funny, it’s a big change from the bike because we cannot turn the same way, we can’t lean, so you have to relearn everything but it’s nice.”
“It’s especially nice with the family because you can put a child in the sidecar, my wife behind, and suitcases,” he said.
In future he hopes to take advantage of the interest in the old bikes to rent it out.
“I think it will be a bit of a change from all the convertibles here.”