Dubai: A community police initiative has helped reduce crime rates in residential areas by 16.1 per cent over the last four years, an official said on Thursday.

Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police said that the ‘Policeman in Your Neighbourhood’ initiative was designed to help monitor and solve crime in residential areas of the emirate.

“Former officers and employees are part of the initiative to spread awareness in their residential districts and to encourage the residents to communicate with Dubai Police if they experience any negative phenomena,” said Al Jallaf, who added “the initiative helped reduce the crime rate by 16.1 per cent.”

Over the last four years the initiative has also helped spot 1,500 security flaws such as 200 abandoned buildings, 211 abandoned vehicles, 213 exposed electric cables and 113 incidences of bachelors who were sharing apartments and rooms.

Al Jallaf said reporting such issues helped find solutions for a safer city.

According to Al Jallaf, the initiative has 60 volunteers in different residential districts of Dubai, and 25 per cent of them are women.

“The volunteers can speak many languages and have communication skills and can solve problems,” he said. “They can solve minor disputes between neighbours or inform police stations of serious disputes.”

Volunteers have participated in 800 events in residential areas over the past four years to raise awareness of the initiative for their neighbours.