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Sharjah residents asked to keep watch on abandoned buildings

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah
Filed on November 16, 2019 | Last updated on November 16, 2019 at 06.05 am
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An old abandoned building located on Al Wahda Street in Sharjah.- Photo by M.Sajjad

Many of the under-construction buildings are left by the owners or the management without securities.

Residents of some areas of Sharjah expressed their concerns over the abuse of the under-construction buildings and dilapidated houses, which are being used as shelter of illegal workers and dens of criminals.

Some of the under-construction buildings and abandoned houses are also used as stores for stolen items such as building materials. They are also used as safe place for illegal practices, including gambling and drug abuse.

Many of the under-construction buildings are left by the owners or the management without securities as the construction works have been stopped for several months due to financial difficulties or some other reason. Residents of the localities complained that this adds to the illegal practices in these buildings.

Yousif bin Yaqoob Al Ameri, a resident of Al Qarain area, said that it has been noticed that many commercial buildings and houses under construction have been abandoned by construction companies after stopping work for more than three months. "The owners leave the buildings without deploying a guard, which leads it to become a safe place for violators who are wandering during the night to commit crimes such as theft of construction equipment and power cables from such sites and then sell them to scrap workers."

Another resident of Mysalon area said he see many people walk around in the neighbourhood, heading to abandoned houses. "Some even live in such buildings in the night in the absence of security guards. They go to work from these buildings and return during the evening hours, just like that's their accommodation," he added

Police swing into action

The Sharjah Police have confirmed that following intensified inspections and awareness campaigns, the number of reports related to the illegal practices in the under-construction buildings and abandoned houses have come down to a monthly average of 11 reports.

The police have intensified patrols that monitor the places which could be used for practising illegal activities, especially the dilapidated old houses and the buildings where construction work has been stopped.

An officer with the Sharjah Police explained: "Such practices increased as many owners of under-construction buildings failed to hire guards after the construction stopped. It's the owner's duty is to protect the building from being abused by deploying a guard if the construction is stopped for more than a month."

He warned the owners not to leave the buildings unattended, to protect it from being safe havens for criminals who commit theft, murder, rape and other crimes. He also stressed the need to storing construction tools and materials, especially cables, windows and doors, in closed places, adding not to leave the buildings open.

The officer pointed out that the police are continuing efforts to eliminate all negative phenomena and reduce theft incidents, committed mainly by violators of residence laws. "We are trying to locate such buildings and arrest the perpetrators."

He urged the public to cooperate with the police in reporting offenders who commit illegal practices.

Municipality joins the drive

According to the Sharjah Municipality, it is not part of its duties to oblige building owners to guard the buildings under construction. "However, the building inspection department at the municipality has always been keen to carry out inspections at the sites and to coordinate with the police to curb all illegal activities.

However, building owners stated that it's not easy to keep surveillance of such buildings. Ahmed bin Majid and Khalid Al Shamsi, owners of residential and commercial buildings in Sharjah, said that in most cases, the land owners stopped construction because of economic reasons. "It is not the responsibility of the owner to put surveillance cameras or appoint a guard on the site. Our duty is only to install fence to prevent individuals from entering the sites," they added.

Some crimes occurred in abandoned buildings

In January, the Sharjah Criminal Court gave verdict on the case of an African worker, who kidnapped and raped an Asian woman at an under construction building. The man abducted the woman while she was on her way home and took her to a building under construction where he threatened to kill her.

In September, the Sharjah Police arrested 17 Asians who carried out thefts of building materials from under-construction buildings and hid it in abandoned buildings.

Anti-narcotic section of the police recently arrested two Arabs while using heroin in a building under construction. The police received a tip-off from a resident of the same neighbourhood.

KNOW THE LAW

According to lawyer and legal advisor Hamid Darwish, Article 282 of civil transaction law holds the landlord responsible for any harmful act happened because of abandoning and neglecting the building.

 

Afkar Abdullah


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