x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Police 'steal' lorries to teach drivers a lesson

Mock thefts are part of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of making lorries and the goods they carry an easy target for criminals.

Lorries left unattended in Dubai may be removed by police as a warning to their drivers.
Lorries left unattended in Dubai may be removed by police as a warning to their drivers.

DUBAI // Drivers who leave their lorries unattended may return to find that they have been stolen – by the police.

The mock thefts are part of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of making lorries and the goods they carry an easy target for criminals.

Lt Col Ahmed al Merri, the director of the Emirate's CID, said his department will carry out fake thefts of vehicles to teach lorry drivers and shop owners a practical lesson on the repercussion of leaving their belongings unattended.

"We will have patrols going around areas in Dubai, especially in commercial areas such as Naif and Rifa'a, and spotting unattended lorries or goods. We will take the lorry or goods aside and make them believe that they have been stolen," he said.

The police will then turn up and let the drivers know that they were the one who seized the items and explain that this could have been an opportunistic criminal instead.

"One main element of thefts is that the criminal sees an opportunity in stealing, so by leaving goods unattended one increases the risk. This is the message we want to convey in order to prevent such crimes," Lt Col al Merri said.  

The campaign, "Protect Your Money and Live in Peace", was launched yesterday by Dubai Police and is expected to last for one month. Police will make field visits and hand out booklets to educate lorry drivers and shop owners on the risks of leaving their goods unattended while they make deliveries or run errands.

Brig Khalil al Mansouri, director general of CID, said companies and drivers need to understand the need to keep an eye on their lorries and maybe even appoint a person who will guard the goods until they are in safe keeping.

Seven thefts of unattended lorries have been registered in Dubai this year. Last year, 12 thefts were registered in total.

Col Saleh Obeid, director of Al Rashidiya Police Station, who will supervise the campaign, said: "We have made an effort to raise awareness in the past and, as the statistics have shown, this has led to a drop in the theft cases. That is why we decided to have this comprehensive campaign."

The police, in cooperation with the economic department, RTA and the municipality, have been handing out fines for unattended lorries, which can reach up to Dh5,000. Last year, 15 fines were given to drivers who left their lorries unattended, police records show.

wissa@thenational.ae