It will come as little surprise that many UAE residents feel their environment to be remarkably safe. Some crimes - muggings, burglary and armed robbery - seem so rare as to be almost non-existent. The findings of a nationwide survey published today, a joint effort of The National and the research consultancy YouGov, seem to only reinforce those sentiments. Most respondents confirmed the belief that crime rates are relatively low in the UAE and that people do not in general fear for their personal safety. But as is often the case, more information also leads to more questions. The survey indicates some worrying trends. For instance, 44 per cent of respondents who had experienced or witnessed a crime chose not to go to the police - including 30 per cent of Emiratis, who have a high confidence in the judiciary and criminal justice system. Those weren't just reluctant teenagers, either; respondents across the board in all age categories expressed a measure of hesitation when it came to reporting crime. Whether there is a bias against authorities, reluctance at being caught in red tape, a language barrier or simply not enough resources allocated to community outreach, all deserve investigation. A more fundamental question is, why do so many people feel safer in this society than elsewhere? The obvious answer - that crime rates are low - is only a partial explanation. Are crime rates low across the board? That cannot be assumed, with anecdotal evidence of incidents that occur within the home, for example, not to mention residents' self-confessed hesitancy to report crimes. And why are some crimes - such as violent incidents on the streets - seemingly so uncommon? Is it because of foreign would-be criminals' fear of being deported, tough laws on the books, superior policing methods? A better understanding even of society's strong points is crucial for effective policy. Clearly the country is doing something right: simply the perception of safety contributes greatly to people's quality of life. But public perceptions, while important, cannot be presumed to fully describe the situation on the ground. In order to ensure that people really are as safe as they believe themselves to be, there is more work to be done. The survey provides a starting point by compiling this data. It is particularly noteworthy in bringing attention to gaps in publicly available information. A comprehensive report on crime nationwide, including the types of crimes committed and their prevalence, would offer a clearer picture of what communities are being affected and how the police and judiciary may continue to address these challenges. With greater certainty comes a greater sense of security.