Dubai’s Naif area may soon have app-based mini-trucks to replace porter-carts

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The busy Naif area in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: In an attempt to regulate the work of porters and prevent thefts and accidents in Dubai’s Naif area, people will soon be able to hire licensed mini-trucks through a mobile app, for use in this area.

According to Colonel Omar Ashour, Deputy Director of Naif Police Station, officers are studying a suggestion to use licensed vehicles instead of street porter-carts to reduce thefts from goods left on the pavements or in carts.

“The porter-carts are susceptible to thefts and can cause traffic congestion and accidents. Though the number of thefts have dropped significantly in the last three years, we are working on a strategy to regulate movements in this area by introducing a system of licensed trucks,” Col Ashour said.

People and shop-owners will be able to order these mini-trucks through a dedicated mobile app on their smart phones. The mini-trucks will bear a number plate to help track their movements.

“The proposal is under study before presenting it to the higher authority in Dubai Police,” he added.

According to official statistics, Dubai Police recorded 354 cases of theft and accidents in the Naif area in the first quarter of this year, compared to 677 cases last year.

“We formed a team of bicycle patrols for quicker response to thefts. Some porters can even suffer injuries in accidents, while some of them are violating residency and immigration rules,” he added.

Naif Police Station has also launched a ‘Compass Team’ that has helped bring down the number of thefts in shops located in the area. The police station has also used advanced drones to detect and prevent crime in the area. The drones are eqipped with the latest face-recognition technology and can record footage in narrow streets and alleys. These drones helped Dubai Police issue 2,933 fines for traffic violations, 128 fines to cyclists, register 159 cases for wanted vehicles and 706 fines for illegal use of e-scooters. The drones were also used to issue 37 fines to jaywalkers. Moreover, these drones detected people selling illegal substances on the streets and they were arrested on the spot.

Theft from employees working on visit visas

Naif Police Station has formed a team of six officers to study complaints and take strict action against violators and criminals in order to increase awareness among the public in the area.

One complaint was of thefts from employees who were staying illegally in the country or working on visit visas. “The owners [of the companies where these employees worked] were afraid of reporting these incidents because of fines for hiring people on visit visas. We have launched a campaign, in cooperation with the authority concerned, to minimise these crimes,” he added.