Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi crime rate drops as more people stay indoors

The reduction was mostly down to fewer traffic and residency offences and bounced cheques

Police dress in safety gear ahead of a patrol near Mussafah’s main Covid test centre. Traffic offences and visa overstays are among the most common crimes in the emirate - and both have fallen due to contraints on personal movement. Reem Mohammed / The National
Police dress in safety gear ahead of a patrol near Mussafah’s main Covid test centre. Traffic offences and visa overstays are among the most common crimes in the emirate - and both have fallen due to contraints on personal movement. Reem Mohammed / The National

Abu Dhabi has witnessed a decline in the emirate’s crime rate as movement restrictions force more people to remain indoors.

Prosecutors recorded a 37 per cent cent drop in offences between March 8 and April 13 when compared to the same period last year.

Figures showed 9,510 offences were registered during these weeks as against 15,186 last year.

The drop is attributed to fewer traffic and residency offences, among other factors.

Most people are home so naturally traffic offences have gone down as well residency ones

Hassan Al Hammadi, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

Residency offences fell from 815 to 526, a 35 per cent decline, after the UAE government announced on April 13 that all UAE residency visas and permits would remain valid until the end of the year.

The biggest percentage decline was seen in traffic crimes, which saw a 55 per cent drop from 365 cases to 166.

“We have seen a reduction in crime in the emirate of Abu Dhabi by almost 40 per cent during the pandemic coinciding with the sterilisation programme,” said Counsellor Hassan Al Hammadi, director of public prosecution at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

“Most people are home so naturally traffic offences have gone down as well residency ones because the government has launched many initiatives.”

On March 12, the Abu Dhabi government advised their employees to work from home, prompting some local businesses to follow suit.

This was followed by restricted movement starting March 26, when residents were asked to remain in their homes each night from 8pm to 6am while the National Sterilisation Programme deep-cleaned the streets.

The disinfection hours were reduced on April 23 by two hours, from 10pm to 6am, for the duration of Ramadan.

Cases of bounced cheques dropped from 3,212 to 2,779 whereas assault cases also registered a drop of 18 per cent.

Robbery cases were down by 44 per cent and drug related offences dipped by 36 per cent.

However, fraud cases were up by 13 per cent. “The increase in fraud cases is minimal and it is because there are different methods of fraud such as online and internet crimes,” said Mr Hammadi.

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READ: Abu Dhabi named world's safest city for third year in a row

Updated: May 3, 2020 11:53 AM

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