Residents concern over Reem Island mall security

Families living close to where American teacher Ibolya Ryan was stabbed to death have voiced their concerns about the levels of security deployed in the popular mall and residential towers.
CCTV footage from Waitrose on Reem Island shows the suspected killer just before entering the pubic toilet. Courtesy Security Media
CCTV footage from Waitrose on Reem Island shows the suspected killer just before entering the pubic toilet. Courtesy Security Media

ABU DHABI // Families living close to where American teacher Ibolya Ryan was stabbed to death have voiced their concerns about the levels of security deployed in the popular mall and residential towers.

Residents have taken to social media to question why property managers have not introduced tighter security measures after he killing of the kindergarten teacher a week ago.

The murder took place in the public toilet inside the Boutik Mall, which is connected to the Sun and Sky Towers, two residential buildings comprising 1,154 units on Reem Island.

“We are one week after the incident and I’m shocked to notice that there is not one single change to the security procedures in this complex,” said one resident, who asked not to be named, adding that security needed to be beefed up around parking areas and entrances “as a matter of urgency”.

Khidmah LLC, the company that manages the mall and towers, sent a message on email and text “saying the safety of residents is a priority”.

A spokesman for Aldar Properties, the developer that also owns other properties that are part of Shams Abu Dhabi, the company’s flagship development on Reem Island, said: “The tragic events of last week remain under police investigation and we refer you to Abu Dhabi Police for further details of the investigation.”

R M, a 34-year-old Briton who has lived in Sun Tower with her family for nearly four years, said the companies needed to do more to reassure tenants and shoppers.

“The thing that really bothered the residents is that they’ve not held a meeting or anything to reassure us that they’re going to look at security,” said R M.

“They didn’t want the flowers being laid down [on Friday], they were turning people away.”

Ghaida Albaadani, a 38-year-old Emirati who lives on the island with her husband and son, said the murder, allegedly committed by an Emirati woman in her 30s, has widened the divide between westerners and Muslim Arabs living in the property.

“When they go with us in the lift, the people are afraid,” said Mrs Albaadani, who wears an abaya.

“We can feel that,” said Mrs Albaadani. Her mother-in-law, Ilham Sheikh, agreed. “It’s in their eyes.”

Mrs Albaadani said she no longer felt safe. “I don’t feel safe, actually. The thing is there is security everywhere and that happened in this place, so how can you feel safe?”

Sonia Nabeeh, who has lived in the Sky Tower with her husband and three children for four years, said safety was never a concern before. She would let her children run errands for her at the Waitrose supermarket, just a few yards from where the killing took place, or visit the outdoor park nearby.

“But I will never let them do it again,” said Mrs Nabeeh. “It’s just that you don’t know what will happen. It’s like, what if this incident had happened in front of them, what should I do? I’m an adult, and I’m still in shock.”

Mrs Nabeeh said the security guards should have been prepared to capture the killer.

“The problem is that the security guys are not well-trained for something like that,” said Mrs Nabeeh.

“When I saw the [police] video, they were shocked – the same as the people. It should not be like this. If the security were good enough, they could have caught her.”

However, some residents said they still felt safe.

Philip, a 37-year-old Frenchman who has lived above Boutik Mall for two and a half years, said that, under the circumstances, there was nothing more security could have done to prevent the murder.

“You can’t stop a random attack,” said Philip. “If somebody who is crazy enough to randomly go and do that, you can’t stop them. There’s no way.”

rpennington@thenational.ae

Published: December 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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