Dubai residents at Nakheel’s Al Furjan villa community have spoken of their safety fears following a huge spate of burglaries at the luxury development.
Around 100 residents last month signed a petition highlighting their concerns about the burglaries and calling for increased security at the development, where villas are priced at around AED2.5m ($680,643).
However, residents report that the incidents have continued to occur, with a recent spate of burglaries occurring during the day while occupiers they were out of the house, with cash, electrical goods and other items stolen.
“I thought Dubai was a relatively crime free place so I am absolutely flabbergasted as to what is happening. The few security men we have appear to be doing their best but in a complex of this size, it really is a drop in the ocean,” one resident said in an email to Arabian Business. “At this stage, and with the current frequency of break-ins, we are becoming extremely worried for our family’s safety.”
Some incidents occurred because entry points had not been locked. Others reported that locks had been pushed, while some residents were at home when the robberies occurred.
“It is only a matter of time before someone is in the wrong place, at the wrong time and may get hurt. I do a lot of travelling with work and now have the added worry leaving my wife and young family alone in what appears to be an unsafe area,” another resident said.
“Now we have to check that the doors are locked before we go out. We can’t go upstairs and leave the downstairs doors open, which really effects the quality of your life. I never thought I would hear about anything like this in Dubai. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it myself,” he added.
With hundreds of villas in the development, but just a small handful of security guards, some residents have spoken of taking matters into their own hand, a move which has met with a mixed response.
“What worries me more so is the open talk of people setting up bait traps and setting up vigilante groups to go 'hunt' these guys down,” one resident said. “People need to be mindful of any laws around openly declaring actions like these... Now this is where the Police should be allowed to do their job. We can, as good citizens and residents, help with that as has been mentioned by setting up a Neighbourhood Watch.”
Last month, a Nakheel spokesperson addressed the issue in a statement to Gulf News: “Safety and security are paramount in our communities. We are working to raise the security in a number of ways in Al Furjan including increasing the number of security patrols on the ground. We are also working with authorities to turn Al Furjan into a gated community.”
Al Furjan made the headlines last September when Arabian Business published photos that appeared to show a large part of one of the communal areas flooded by putrid water, which residents claimed had been there since April. Residents told Arabian Business that Nakheel has provided no explanation and ignored repeated requests to fix the problem.
Despite the water and crime issues, it was reported this month prices at the development rose by up to 26 percent in 2013, according to new figures released by online portal Dubizzle.
Its latest 2013 UAE Real Estate Price Trends Report showed that advertised prices for three-bedroom villas in Al Furjan rose from AED2.5m in January 2013 to AED3.15m in December 2013.
Last October, Nakheel launched 400 new homes for sales at Al Furjan, adding to the 800 villas and townhouses that already occupy the growing community. A new retail centre at Al Furjan is also due to open in early 2014.
* Nakheel no longer responds to media enquiries from Arabian Business, nor does it grant Arabian Business access to any of its media events or announcements.