Two articles from competing newspapers appear on the same day which contradict each other on safety and crime. This article in Arab News talks about an increase in crime in Riyadh. The areas and neighborhoods which the article cites as seeing an increase in crimes such as robberies are also areas which have been known for many years to be less than safe.
In my own opinion though the Saudi police need to be both more pro-active and just plain active in combating crime. For example, I have known of multiple individuals who have been the victim of crime yet when these incidents were reported, the police failed to show at the scene. In one case where a couple’s estraha was broken in to while they were sleeping and items stolen, after multiple calls for the police to come to the scene, the police finally instructed the couple to come to the police station to file their complaint! The police had no interest to come to the scene of the crime!
The other article appeared in the Saudi Gazette with the lofty subject “Kingdom has World’s Lowest Crime Rate.” That’s quite a contrast from Arab News title “Saudis, Expats Report Rise in Crime Incidents in Riyadh.” However, once you read the Saudi Gazette article it becomes clear that it is only a short piece about forensic medicine. The Director of the Saudi Forensic Medicine Association claims that the Kingdom has the lowest rates of extortion, rape and murder. After that blanket statement the article then segues to forensic medicine and how this field will soon be completely Saudized.
I’d like to add that compared to many other countries in which I have lived or traveled, I always felt safe in Saudi Arabia. I used common sense and stayed clear from areas known for petty crime.
So, all in all, it was an entertaining morning reading the competitive English dailies of the Kingdom.