Safety at night in Dubai: Women express thanks to the city for feeling of security

We speak to a cross-section of UAE-based women to know their thoughts on walking around Dubai at night


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 21 Dec 2022, 4:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Dec 2022, 4:23 PM

From the tallest building to the largest shopping mall to the best hotels, the UAE is home to some architectural wonders. With its futuristic mindset, tourist-friendly policies, and ease of living conditions, it is home to over 200 nationalities. But the one thing that everyone unanimously loves about the country is its safety.

According to Gallup’s Global Law and Order report 2022, 92% of people feel safe walking alone in the country. Last year, the Georgetown University released its Women, Peace & Security Index. In a survey of women aged 15 and above, 98.5% respondents said they feel safe walking alone at night in the area where they live.

Safety and security have been a top priority for the rulers of the country. With constant police patrols, security cameras at every nook and cranny and a strong justice system, the UAE has become a safe haven for the millions who call this country home. Recently, Dubai Police also announced that it had reduced its response time to extreme emergencies to 6.74 minutes in 2021.

With so much being done to safeguard the city, how do women in Dubai feel about walking out and about in the city at night? Team City Times scoured the streets of the city and asked a few women their thoughts.

Dianne Margarette N. Baldoza

Nationality: Philippines

Profession: Corporate Lawyer

We caught up with Dianne as she rode a Careem bike home from Barasti after watching a football game with her friend. “I live in Al Twar but I am staying with my friend in Dubai Marina,” she said. “We wanted to watch the game at the fan zone in Barasti. So I stayed over with her. We rode here and are now going to ride back.”

Photo: Neeraj Murali
Photo: Neeraj Murali

Having lived in the UAE for over eight years, Dianne says she often has to work long hours as a corporate lawyer but it has never even crossed her mind to feel worried for her safety. “It didn’t even occur to me that I was riding a bike at night until you asked me,” she said. “For me, it was like as if I was riding a bike during the daytime. I think that is what I love about Dubai, no matter which place you are in and what time, there is this incredible sense of safety.”

As a corporate lawyer, Diane said her work hours were very haphazard. “There are often times when I have to work late into the night,” she said. “But whenever I take the public transport or taxis home, I have never felt any fear. I am grateful to be living in this country.”

Photo: Neeraj Murali
Photo: Neeraj Murali

Melissa Gomes

Nationality: Canadian

Profession: Cabin Crew

Having grown up in the UAE, Melissa loves the safety and security of the country. “I work in the airline industry so I have very haphazard work hours,” she said. When we met her at 1:30am, she was just alighting from the taxi while returning home after a flight. “I am never worried about catching a taxi or being followed home. When I reach home, I don’t feel any fear walking to my building either. CCTV is everywhere. I have my phone with me with the police on speed dial, should something happen.”

According to Melissa, it’s not just the police and law enforcement that makes her feel safe in the country. “The people here are very friendly,” she said. “Usually any one is willing to help especially if they see you distressed. That is always a comfort. In the 33 years I have lived here, I have seen Dubai transform from a small town to the melting pot that it is today but the friendly nature of people has remained the same.”

However, Melissa says taking precautions has been ingrained in her due to her extensive travels. “I am always alert and stay in well lit areas,” she said. “I always make sure I am around people and I have a rough plan in my mind on how to deal with extreme situations. Thankfully I have never had to action them.”

Nehal Bhatia

Nationality: Indian

Profession: Homemaker

Nehal Bhatia was out for a walk at 3am around the Kite Beach when we caught up with her. “Usually when I don’t feel sleepy, I come out for a walk like this,” she said. “Sometimes I come alone and sometimes I come with my husband. I have never felt worried or scared about being out late at night. I think UAE is the safest country in the world.”

Mother to a teenage daughter, Nehal said she is happy to be raising her children here. “My daughter takes the metro and goes to university,” she said. “She also travels around the city for her studies and to meet friends. I am so grateful that I never have to worry about her safety and security.”

Julnar Hilly

Nationality: Iraqi

Profession: Student/ Freelance designer

18-year-old Julnar Hilly has lived in three countries but she considers Dubai her home and the safest place she has ever been in. “I love this city,” she said. “No matter how late it is there are always people around and it’s always busy. I love the buzz and vibe in this city.”

Julnar was returning home after a martial arts class and dinner with a friend when we met her at midnight. She admitted that despite the safe environment, she still sometimes felt scared. “I know it’s safe,” she said. “However, having lived in the UK and having heard from my parents who grew up in Iraq about the challenges they have faced, I do have a little bit of paranoia.”

Julnar said she was always cautious even though she has never faced the need for it in the UAE. “I have been out and about in the city at all times but I have never felt any fear or danger,” she said. “My cautiousness stems more out of habit than need. Sometimes I feel I might not be able to survive in other countries because of how Dubai has spoilt me,” she chuckled.

Areej Kameh and Melissa Ibrahim

Nationality: Lebanese

Profession: Retail sector

The housemates and friends were sitting below their building on Sheikh Zayed Road, chatting when we met up with them. “Wallah, Dubai is the safest place,” said Areej. “Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I get up and walk towards the Downtown area. No one will follow you, no one will stop and honk at you, no one will disturb you. It is one of the things I am the most grateful for in this country.”

Melissa agreed. “I have been out late at night in Satwa as well as around the Downtown area,” she said. “However, I have never once feared for my safety. Whether it is travelling by taxi and public transport or walking long distances, there is no issue whatsoever.” Areej said that they don’t take this safety for granted. “This time when I went back to Lebanon and I was going out in the afternoon, my mother asked me to be careful about my bag,” she said. “So obviously the safety and security that this country offers us is something we value very much.”

Noor, Zainab and Riham

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Profession: Students

The Kuwaiti students were getting out of a restaurant near the beach at 2am when we caught up with them. “We don’t usually go out this late at night,” said Riham, while supporting Zainab between herself and Noor. “However, we were played padel this evening and Zainab slipped and fell. We spent the next few hours in the hospital. Luckily it was just a sprain.”

“After getting out of the hospital, we were all hungry so we came here to eat something,” said Zainab. “I really wanted a little pick-me-up so we had some nice burgers and desserts.”

The three girls said they had been living in the UAE for almost a year and loved the country. “It is very safe and we can go anywhere fearlessly,” said Noor. “Our parents are also comforted knowing that we are always protected. Of course, we always tell them where we are going as well so as not to worry them.”

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