Dubai: Women residents of a community in New Dubai say unidentified men have been stalking them for months, prompting calls on social media to improve security in the area and at least one victim has complained to police.
Dozens of residents of Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) have raised concerns on social media about the alleged stalkers, claiming they have been followed inside their community while walking their dogs or running errands. The stalkers are described to be a group of men who follow women by driving slowly behind them in their tinted SUVs. Some residents also claimed to have seen the stalkers lurking under their buildings and then following them out on foot.
Residents interviewed by Gulf News requested their names be changed, for fear of being targeted by the alleged stalkers.
Indian expatriate Pranita B., 30, said she noticed a man roaming around under her building when she went out for her daily walk with her dog at 5.30am. “The man was sitting under my building every day for a week, and would start following me as soon I left the building,” said Pranita.
Feeling shadowed and constantly looking over her shoulder, Pranita said she saw the man speed walk behind her every morning, until one morning he called out “excuse me” to get her attention. “I ran to my building and informed my security and, once the man saw the guard, he ran way,” she said.
However, the problem did not end there. Pranita explained that while her building’s security guard escorted her out every morning, the stalker waited for her around the corner and continued to follow her once the security guard was out of sight. “We need the community management or the police to take action immediately,” said Pranita.
Similarly, another JVC resident, Kerrin B., 57, from the US, said she has been stalked for over four months. A man, who stopped to talk to her while she was walking her dog in June, soon became her stalker, she said. “He said he was a real estate agent and gave me his card in case I wanted to view office space,” she said. After taking him up on his offer and viewing available office space with a friend, Kerrin said the real estate agent continued to send her messages through WhatsApp.
“He sent a few friendly messages, and then asked about my house and how my dogs were doing even when I was away in Abu Dhabi,” said Kerrin. After warning him, Kerrin said she received a message every day as soon as she approached her driveway, indicating that he was watching her. “He then started following me in his car and driving around the park every time I went out for a walk with my dog,” she said.
Kerrin said she started carrying a camera as she walked her dog and was eventually able to take a picture of the ‘stalker’s’ number plate, which she then handed to the police. Soon after, Kerrin said the police issued the man a warning. However, the stalking did not stop. “I see different cars under my house that have continued to follow me to this day,” said Kerrin.
Her neighbour, British national Hannah L. 37, said she witnessed the stalking behaviour on multiple occasions. “There are always cars outside apartment blocks with the engine running and men inside,” said Hannah. Exercising with her dog while cycling or running around the community park, Hannah spoke of a tinted car driving back and forth past her on several occasions.
She explained that the same car drove past her four times in less than 30 minutes, before parking and slowly following her. “This affects your day-to-day life, and makes you very paranoid because you’re always looking at any car wondering if it’s one of the stalkers,” said Hannah.
The endless complaints about stalkers lurking in JVC being raised on social media platforms pushed Egyptian resident Nabeel Mesbah, 35, to create a WhatsApp group called ‘JVC Emergency Help’ to help women in his community. The group aims to give women a way to instantly report any incidents of stalking. “This shouldn’t be happening, and someone needs to take action. I created this group to help anyone in the situation,” said Mesbah. The five-year resident of JVC pointed out that women should make sure they carry their phones when they are out for a walk.
A comment from Dubai Police was not available immediately. However, residents can contact Dubai Police by phone, SMS, email, WhatsApp or by visiting the nearest police station.
Box: Residents can contact the police on:
Call and fax: 8004888 from within UAE and 009718004888 from outside the UAE.
WhatsApp: +971 50 856 6657