Residents of a community in Dubai have raised concerns over security after barriers into the villa district were removed to cut congestion.
A reported recent break-in at Jumeirah Village Triangle only added to their fears with some saying the removal of the community gates made them more susceptible to burglaries.
Property developer Nakheel said the barriers were removed following public pressure to ease queuing at access points — where traffic is notoriously bad during rush hour.
It said security guards still operate in the area, just not on all of the community access gates.
Details of the alleged home invasion were posted on social media, prompting residents to ramp up security measures and consider establishing neighbourhood watch groups.
One neighbour took to social media to express disappointment in the response from others in the neighbourhood on hearing the woman’s screams for help.
“I live in District 2, and our neighbour was screaming to the top of her lungs from her second floor balcony asking for help,” he said.
“Someone broke into her town house, and it was clear she was scared to death.
"Me and my wife called the police and made sure she was safe.”
The resident posted on Facebook about the attack on her home this month, waking to find three intruders in her house.
The woman claimed she sustained injuries in an attack as she fought the men off.
Residents said police are investigating but have not released any details of the alleged burglary.
In a statement, Nakheel said it had removed the gates to reduce congestion on request from those living in and using the community.
“Jumeirah Village Triangle is a fully-established, continually growing mixed-use community, with two schools and an increasing number of shops, restaurants and services complementing thousands of homes at the community,” the spokeswoman said.
“As a result, JVT is a destination for the wider Dubai public who, like the residents, need timely and efficient access to the community.
“After carefully assessing the situation and listening to the views of residents, we have decided to remove the security gates at JVT.
“This will mean easier access to the community, with fewer delays and less traffic congestion at peak times.
“We assure residents that our security team will continue to patrol the community as always.”
Dubai Police said they did not receive any reports from properties across the emirate with home security systems installed in 2017 and that with the number of incidents fell by a fifth compared to the year before.
Police believe that drop could be bigger if more people used technology to secure their homes and often recommend residents install such systems, particularly over the summer when people are likely to travel for holidays.
Nakheel invested millions of dirhams in security fencing and gatehouses at three of its communities — JVT, Jumeirah Park and Al Furjan, after a spate of burglaries in 2014.
Following a petition by residents to improve security measures, more than 20 kilometres of fencing was fitted at the communities.
“People complained when there was no security, so the gates were added but that created more problems with workers and visitors trying to get access to the community,” said one JVT resident, from France.
“Nakheel asked us to supply information for access cards for the community, like passport copies and other information, but the cards never happened.
“The security gates were making life more difficult for people, so the barriers were removed.
“A lot of people are now worried about break-ins and want to start their own neighbourhood watch groups.
“I’ve asked my landlord to put up CCTV cameras, and I know others are doing the same.”
Another resident suggested they form their own neighbourhood watch groups.
“Since we don’t have our own security, I’ve suggested to form our own security team and make emergency numbers for residents where each one leave his contact number and the district he lives in,” the man said.
“Kind of a quick emergency in such cases to help and support as fast as we can.”