Serious crime in Dubai down 24%

The number of serious crimes recorded by Dubai police fell by 24 per cent last year, according to new figures.

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DUBAI // The number of serious crimes recorded by Dubai police fell by 24 per cent last year, according to figures released yesterday.

The force registered 2,485 such crimes last year compared with 3,265 in 2009, its annual report said. The category covers murder, sexual and physical assaults, prostitution, robbery and theft.

The reduction was mostly a result of efficient security programmes and increased police visibility, said Brig Khalil al Mansouri, who heads the Dubai police Criminal Investigation Department (CID). He said there had been a 70 per cent increase in CID officer numbers in the past year, though he did not disclose the figure.

“The fact that our officers in the CID and police stations are increasing their field presence has helped us to reduce the crime rate and combat crime,” he said.

“Another factor that has contributed to the drop is the quarterly review of the Dubai police chief on our performance, which helps to set future plans.”

Other reasons for the reduction included the integration of administrative work with fieldwork, direct supervision by the police chief and his deputy of officers on cases and increased training to sharpen their skills, Brig al Mansouri said.

Among the security programmes implemented last year was one called 888, in Rashidiya, in which police increased their presence after a crime in a specific area until they caught the perpetrators and ensured that instances of the crime were eliminated from the area.

The biggest challenges last year were domestic burglary and theft, said Lt Col Ahmed al Merri, who heads the criminal investigation unit.

Thefts and robberies made up more than 70 per cent of the total number of serious crimes last year, with more than 1,800 cases reported. Those were being addressed through better co-ordination between the CID and individual police stations, he said.

“We have been very successful in overcoming our biggest challenge of last year and we were able to arrest all the perpetrators involved in these cases,” he said.

“This was possible through our systemised investigations and the co-ordination between the different sections at CID, as well as connecting all reports received in the city with each other.”

Among offences considered less serious, drug cases registered in the emirate dropped by more than 30 per cent, down to 676 compared with 975 in 2009, the report said. More than 1,000 people were arrested in connection with drugs offences this year, according to the report, including a man police describe as the country’s most prolific drug trafficker.

Major Gen Abdul al Jalil Mahdi, the head of the police anti-drugs department, has said that intensified efforts to combat drug trafficking had paid dividends in 2010.

Analysts welcomed the publication of the figures, and their comparison with last year. Crime statistics were an important socio-economic indicator, said Dr Riad al Khawaji, the chief executive of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“One of the first things one would want to know when moving to a country is how safe and secure it is,” he said. “Such statistics encourage business and tourism.”

A drop in the crime rate is usually an indication of good policing, and evidence that a force is updating itself and learning from experience, Dr al Khawaji said.