Dubai Police launch initiative to secure villas

CCTV cameras and motion sensors to augment security and residents can even register via smart apps when outside the country

17:58 January 10, 2018


Dubai Police have launched a new initiative for villa residents to secure their homes by installing CCTV cameras and motion sensors, officials said on Wednesday.

After the big success of the home security programme that was launched in 2001, which ensured the safety of all villas registered with the police from burglary, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, launched the smart service in cooperation with du and the Transguard group to install cameras and sensors in villas.

Under this programme, residents can download the Dubai Police smart app to sign up for the home security service and enter their details, home location and time of travel so that the police can send patrols to check on their homes. Additionally, residents can also choose the services of either du or Transguard to install cameras to secure their homes. The two companies will be linked to the police command room for speedy response to any alert.

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs of Dubai Police, said this is an important step to create a safer city and to crack down on villa robberies.

“Those who register [for the app] can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they can also have the facility of [surveillance] cameras installed and have their home [safe] under the supervision of Dubai Police. Thieves will think twice before approaching a house that has been thus secured,” Major-General Al Mansouri said.

As the app allows residents to pinpoint their home location, Dubai Police patrols are kept aware that the home is empty and thus will be on a lookout for any suspicious activities.

A significant feature of the service is that “people can even register [via the app] from outside the country if they have forgotten to do so before travelling,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.

Ahmad Bu Rhaima, Senior Vice-President, du, said that they will provide the most advanced cameras from companies like Apple to villa owners in line with their smart homes solution.

“We will have a customer service department for the programme so people can contact us if they need to install cameras in their houses. It is a joint initiative with Dubai Police,” Bu Rhaima said.

There are three different kinds of cameras available for surveillance and the basic package from du will cost Dh1,000.

“It is a one-time payment for the customer, who can use wifi to operate the cameras. The cameras will be connected to Dubai police [operations] and the customer has the additional option to monitor his home via his smart phone. The cameras come with sensors to send an alarm if someone breaks into the house,” he added.

Tim Mundell, Chief Security Officer at Transguard security service, said their security system will be available for Dh649 and they will also train the customer on how to use it for an additional cost of Dh195 per month.

“The system includes security cameras and sensors as well as smoke detectors. It will be connected to our command room and Dubai Police. If anything happens during the absence of the villa’s owner, we will alert him or contact the key holder. If the incident is a burglary or something serious, we will alert Dubai Police,” Mundell said.

However, Dubai Police said the privacy of the cameras is protected and nobody can have access to them unless the owner preapproves access.

Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Bin Dhabwi Al Felasi, Director of Criminal Control section at the Criminal Investigation Department in Dubai Police and Director of Home Security Programme, said the number of houses registered under the programme increased by 20 per cent last year compared to 2016, especially because people can register in the programme through various channels.

“Those who go on vacation can register through the Dubai Police smart app from within or outside the country. Registering for the app is free of charge and it ensures that the houses are guarded in the absence of their owners,” Lt Col Al Felasi said.

He said that after registering with the service, du or Transguard will contact the customer (in case they need additional camera surveillance) so they can follow up on his request.

The service will be available to anyone who resides in a villa, Lt Col Al Felasi said, given that patrols cannot go and check on each apartment.

“The new service was presented to the concerned authority so we can implement it for all UAE in the future,” Lt Col Al Felasi added.