Worried residents in Arabian Ranches Two in Dubai are increasing their security measures after a spate of burglaries and thefts.
Several homes in the Casa area of the community were broken into throughout October with cash, gadgets and mobile phones reported stolen.
Dubai Police and Emaar Properties are investigating the break-ins and working with residents to tighten security and improve gate checks of visitors and guests.
Meanwhile, some families are taking their own precautions by adding locks to windows and sliding doors to deter opportunist intruders.
French hospitality worker Antoine Couve lives in a Casa villa with his wife and four-year-old daughter.
“Someone managed to open a sliding window on the ground floor during the night,” he said.
“They entered the house and found my wallet and took the cash, leaving the wallet on the table.
“After a few questions with my wife, we realised what had happened.
“It wasn’t a huge amount and nothing else had been taken but it was shocking to think someone else had been in my house.”
Mr Couve’s rented home was broken into overnight on October 9 when he was at home asleep with his family.
He has since employed a locksmith to secure all windows in the villa with a lock and key.
“I need to protect my family and keep them safe,” he said.
"I decided to make my own security improvements. Since this, I've realised the entire house is not secure."
Reports of other break-ins have circulated on social media groups and community pages.
Dina Nimer, a Jordanian mother-of-two who works as a media manager for a TV channel in Dubai, lives opposite Mr Couve and her home was also broken into.
“I never locked my front door and never thought a break-in would happen here,” said Mrs Nimer, who has lived in Dubai for 14 years.
“My son could not find his iPhone and my other son had lost his wallet. I looked at the garden patio window that was slightly open.
“When we found his wallet, Dh600 of his savings had been taken and the [other son's] iPhone was also gone," she said.
Mrs Nimer reported the incident on October 2 to police, who dispatched a forensics team to examine the house for evidence.
“I have always felt safe here until this month,” she said. “We leave no valuables on the ground floor any more.
“Emaar said they were working on a new security plan but could not tell us about it. We have not seen any changes yet.”
Others have reported locks broken on sliding-doors to gain entry to homes, while community groups presented a list of security improvements they would like to see.
They include better street lighting and more closed-circuit security cameras.
Former Casa resident Agatha, a Zimbabwean mother of two young children, moved to another community due to her fears after reporting an intruder in her villa this summer.
“My husband was coming home from work late, so I was on my own in the house with the children,” she said.
“I heard the door open and assumed it was my husband as I could hear footsteps in the kitchen. When I heard the footsteps leave and the door close I called my husband on his phone to ask where he was going.
“When he said he hadn’t been home yet I knew someone had just walked in.”
Agatha, who did not want to give her full name, said she and her family had since moved to nearby Arabian Ranches One, where she said the security is better.
“Casa has become a hot-spot for break-ins recently – it is a real worry,” she said.
“There is just one security gate at the main entrance at Arabian Ranches Two and because the gym and nursery are inside, there is a lot of coming and going.
“People are too relaxed here about security and that promotes opportunist crimes like this.”
Dubai Police responded to the break-ins by highlighting various initiatives to raise awareness of crime prevention. Officials said more than 1,250 home security cameras were fitted in residential areas since 2017.
"Dubai Police [are] keen on strengthening security by implementing these plans to reduce crime rates and increase prevention," said Colonel Rashid Abdurrahman bin Dhaboui.