NAT_BEGGING-1557056771533
A man gives money to a beggar in an underpass. Police have warned the public about the continued menace posed by beggars as they deploy various tricks to seek sympathy. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: The police in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who have launched a concerted anti-begging campaign in the emirates, have warned the public against falling prey to the tricks employed by beggars during Ramadan — both online or on the streets.

Addressing a press conference in Dubai on Sunday, Col Mohammad Akeel, deputy director of Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, said of the 243 beggars who were arrested during Ramadan last year, 60 per cent were visitors.

“Most of the beggars were visitors. They come down during Ramadan for easy money as they know people here are helpful and sympathetic. We have a team of officers to crack down on beggars at residential areas and near mosques,” he said.

60%

of the 243 beggars who were arrested during Ramadan last year were visitors

Although the numbers of beggars in general has reduced in recent years — from 1,405 beggars in 2015 to 781 beggars last year — Brigadier Abdul Haleem Mohammad from Dubai Police warned the public about their continued menace as they deployed various tricks to seek public sympathy.

“People shouldn’t sympathise with beggars as they dupe people by pretending they have a disability or a disease,” Brigadier Mohammad said.

Recently, Dubai Police arrested some women who used their children to get people’s attention.

Lt Col Abdullah Ateek from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai asked tourist companies to be careful when they issue visas to individuals as many beggars come on a visit visa.

“We always check with tourist companies to be sure when they apply for visit visas for people. If the company has violated the rules, then it is liable to pay a Dh2,000 fine for each visitor caught begging. The company will be closed if the violations continue,” Lt Col Ateek said.

Begging
Image Credit: Supplied

Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, the Criminal Security Sector of Abu Dhabi Police has also launched a campaign to fight begging during Ramadan.

Brigadier Mohammad Suhail Al Rashedi, Director of the sector, said the police has prepared a comprehensive security plan to combat begging this Ramadan as it was a deceptive activity which had a dangerous impact on society and the country’s economy security. The police will patrol localities targeted by beggars, he said and urged the community not to give money to them as it is illegal.

He warned the public against people approaching them through social media sites and emails with fake stories to seek their mercy in cash and kind.

“Under the guise of begging they exploit the kind-hearted and they accumulate a big amount of money,” he said.

He said public donations must necessarily be made through authorised charities in the country.

Other key campaigns

ROAD SAFETY DRIVE: As part of its strategy to promote safety and spread tolerance and happiness across the community, Abu Dhabi Police has also launched the Ramadan: Safety and Tolerance campaign.

Maktoum Ali Al Shareefi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Police, said, “Intensifying patrol on the roads and near mosques during Taraweeh prayers, using smart systems to monitor traffic violators and ensuring smooth traffic flow will be part of the Abu Dhabi Police’s security plan during the holy month of Ramadan.”

AWARENESS AMONG WOMEN: The Women Police Affairs Office, Abu Dhabi Police, is also organising a series of Majlis during Ramadan to disseminate awareness among women on security, cultural and community related issues.

The Security Media Department of Abu Dhabi Police has published multi-lingual educational messages via Abu Dhabi Police social media channels, and various print and audio-visual media, with the aim of raising the public awareness on major threats facing the community.

Additionally, the Community Police Department is hosting the third edition of its Ramadan Majlis, under the theme “Peace, Tolerance and Positivity”.

NO FIRECRACKERS: The Firearms and Explosives Department will also focus on educating the public on the dangers of fire crackers that are widely used by children during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

HOTLINES

If you spot a beggar in Dubai, call 901 or +971502106969 or 999 in case of any emergency in Abu Dhabi