x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

When cops in Sharjah become robbers, drivers take notice

With the "Stolen for the Sake of Awareness" campaign, Sharjah Police expects to quickly get the message across.

There is really no other way to say it: cops in Sharjah are playing robbers. In a bid to teach people not to leave their vehicles running while drivers run errands, police in the emirate are hoisting cars and then filming the frantic reactions of unsuspecting drivers when they return to empty parking spots.

The move is part of a campaign to spread awareness about the dangers of leaving the engine on, which is especially common in summer. The police campaign, dubbed "Stolen for the Sake of Awareness", aims to get people to be more cautious. It is also, we assume, an indication that Sharjah's men and women in uniform are tired of chasing after genuinely stolen cars after owners answer the question "where were the keys?" with a simple "in the ignition".

The campaign, as strange as it may seem to outsiders, shows how far police have to go to send a message. In 2010, the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Foundation launched a road safety campaign to encourage motorists to buckle up. One of the ways the organisers said they would do that was to encourage the use of Gucci seat belts.

There is an Arabic saying: unguarded property teaches robbery. For the sake of police in Sharjah, hopefully robbery teaches one to guard property.