Sharjah: The rate of serious crimes in Sharjah fell by 58.8 per cent per 100,000 people last year compared to 45 per cent the year before, according to Sharjah Police officials.

The decrease follows ramped-up efforts to fight crime, said senior officials during a briefing about the force’s performance on Tuesday.

There had also been an improvement in people’s perception, with 98 per cent saying that they felt safe in Sharjah last year, compared to 97 per cent the year before.

Tuesday’s interaction saw participation from, among other police officials, Major-General Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Brigadier Abdullah Mubarak Bin Amer, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; and Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bayat, Director of Operations.

Brigadier Bayat said the General Department of Criminal Investigation achieved 100 per cent success in arresting culprits involved in serious crime. He attributed the lower crime rate to a new mechanism that involve tracking movements of suspects who were previously involved in criminal activities.

Those who committed serious crimes, such as murder, robbery and assault, are now behind bars. Perpetrators who had managed to flee the country were arrested later, he said.

In most incidents, the police arrested the culprits before they could flee the country.

Brigadier Bayat also said the police have drawn up a plan for early crime prevention, including an intense awareness campaign to spread the culture of respecting the law. Police patrols have also been intensified on roads and in crime-prone areas to ensure the safety of residents, in addition to bicycle and marine patrols.

Brigadier Bin Amer said the police had installed 10,486 high-tech CCTV cameras across the city, becoming the third police force in the world to implement this advanced surveillance system. The project, called ‘Sharjah is a Safe City’, was launched in December 2017 by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, during the celebrations to mark 50 years of Sharjah Police.

Brigadier Bin Amer pointed out that the police have completed the first phase of installation of security cameras in Sharjah. The second phase will be carried out in Al Dhaid and the eastern region, with the third set to cover all cities of the emirate, and the fourth to include government institutions, he added.

A security culture programme for schools has also been adopted to tackle bad behaviour such as absenteeism, smoking, bullying and violence.

Brigadier Bayat said that the drop in crime was also down to activating constructive initiatives that aimed to settle disputes such as the ‘Reconciliation is the Best Way’ initiative, boosting cooperation between community members and the police.

He said financial disputes formed 43 per cent of criminal cases. Police managed to solve 6,210 financial disputes.

In 2018, Sharjah Police settled Dh313.169.953 worth of financial disputes without having to refer the case to court, while more than Dh347 million worth of financial disputes were settled in 2017.

Sharjah also witnessed a 61 per cent decrease in drug-related cases last year, with police recording 476 cases compared to 767 the year before and 712 cases in 2016.

As many as 416 traffickers and addicts have been arrested over drug-related cases.

“The department spares no effort in raising awareness about the dangers of narcotics, especially among youth as they are the most vulnerable,” said Brigadier Bayat.

Police held number of awareness campaigns on drug abuse with a total of 7,832 in attendance.

Serious crimes

827 serious crimes took place in 2018, compared to 837 in 2017

■ Premeditated murder cases increased from two cases to six

1.3 million calls

■ Police received more than 1,380,343 calls on the 999 emergency number and 240,554 calls on the non-emergency number 901 in 2018.

■ Out of the total, 3,970 were related to emergency cases while some of them were related to minor issues.

■ Response times were reduced to 9.6 minutes in 2018.

■ Officials have to answer calls on 999 or 901 within three rings, which equals 10 seconds.

■ Personnel speak five languages — Arabic, English, Urdu, Persian and Russian.

Secret reporting

Residents can contact the Najeed service to report an issue anonymously — by calling 800151, sending SMS to 7999, faxing 06-552 9000, emailing najeed@shjpolice.gov.ae or by visiting www.shjpolice.gov.ae/najeed

Customer happiness services

■ 32 Service Centres, including police, traffic and Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments

53 smart services were introduced for customers round the clock.

■ Customer satisfaction reached 96.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 89.9 per cent in 2017.

Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments

■ The facility cleared debts of 323 inmates at an estimated cost of Dh17,149,863.

■ The Ghars Al Amal initiative to revive hope and provide health and education was made available to 111 children of inmates.

■ A drug rehabilitation programme has also benefited 285 inmates since it started in December 2015.

■ Out of these only four inmates returned to jail.

Strategic project

Sharjah Police have launched 13 strategic initiatives and a number of community security projects including the inauguration of a mobile incident management centre, equipped with digital communication linked to the central operation room.