Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 March 2018

Arabian Ranches residents fearful after spate of burglaries

One Indian resident claims someone broke into her villa and stole Dh100,000 worth of her belongings.

A number of burglaries have occurred in Emaar's Arabian Ranches since May. Pawan Singh / The National
A number of burglaries have occurred in Emaar's Arabian Ranches since May. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Residents of Arabian Ranches have voiced their concern over a series of burglaries in recent months.

One of the victims, Hanadi Habib, 32, from India, said an intruder broke into her villa and stole belongings worth Dh100,000. She said she was one of at least four victims since May.

“My husband, five-month old baby and I were at my parents’ house the whole day, and when we came home, we realised that the door of the family room that takes us outside was jammed,” she said.

“We rushed to the back door and saw it was wide open – this is when we realised someone had broken in.

“The downstairs of the house looked untouched, but it was obvious that someone was in the master bedroom because cupboards were open, my Rolex and a diamond tennis bracelet were gone.”

Ms Habib said the burglaries were worrying residents and that there should be more surveillance cameras in the area.

“Each community [within the Ranches] has one security guard and no CCTV cameras at the main entrance, or any other entrance for that matter,” she said.

Last year, Dubai Police recorded 333 burglaries – 211 in villas and 122 in apartments.

Nicola, who has been living in Arabian Ranches for a few weeks, said she heard about the recent burglaries from her new neighbours. “Our neighbours were on a seven-week vacation and had all their chemical pool supplies stolen from their home in Saheel,” she said. “Police were saying it might be a result of hiring part-time workers who are not sponsored.”

Police have repeatedly warned against employing illegal workers, and said residents who wish to go on holiday should notify as few people as possible. They also urged residents to register with a police security scheme that will arrange for their homes to be monitored while they are away.

“People can register for the service via the Dubai Police website, or at the nearest police station,” said Col Jamal Al Jallaf of the Criminal Investigation Department. “The goal is to make people feel their property is safe while they are away.

“The police will be notified that the house will be empty, they will keep an eye on it and look out for any suspicious activity, such as a parked car outside or an open door.”

Nicola said she was not too worried about the recent burglaries.

“I’m South African, I’m used to crime to the absolute maximum, so a couple of burglaries is not going to put me off. However, I’m a little surprised by it because you always think you’re so safe here,” she said.

Jean, who has been living in Arabian Ranches for seven years, said Emaar, which manages the community, had asked its residents to register their maids so they could get an access card. But, he said, this should not be the focus.

“The point is, at night, when you drive around, you sometimes see strange cars, which don’t look like they belong here,” Jean said. “I was once parking by my area and I saw this car that looked suspicious and, when I parked, it left.”

Signs were recently erected near each community, giving residents home safety tips for when they go on holiday. They ask people to ensure doors and windows were locked, to limit the number of people notified that they were leaving, to store valuables in a bank vault or safe, and turn off appliances and taps.

Saffiya Ansari, another resident, said that despite the signs the burglaries were worrying, just as summer holidays start.

“Knowing there have been break-ins, I feel less comfortable leaving the house empty,” she said.