Dubai Police along with several key civic departments have announced a concerted effort to stamp out illegal beggars this Ramadan.
At a press meet in the emirate on Sunday, the Department of Criminal Investigation in Dubai announced a plan that sought the help of residents of the emirate as well to cope with what officials described as "seasonal begging."
The police have divided and colour-coded neighborhoods and have also defined concentration of beggars in certain areas, their nationalities and their methods.
For the first time, the campaign involves cash prizes to those who report beggars in the emirate. The prize will be determined according to the degree of cooperation and the significance of the report,” said the director of the tourism security division, Colonel Mohammed Al Muhairi, who heads the campaign.
“The aim of this reward is to encourage the public to cooperate with the police and protect their emirate from this bad phenomenon.”
In the first six months of 2012, 201 men and 63 women were arrested for begging.
“Beggars take advantage of Ramadan and go to mosques and markets to ask people for money.
“We will concentrate on these areas, as well as residential areas, where police patrols will make their rounds especially during peak times,” said Col Al Muhairi.
The campaign runs until the end of the Eid Al Fitr holiday, and over 60 police patrols will take part in the campaign, which covers residential areas all over Dubai, as well as mosques, shopping malls, markets, petrol stations and parking lots.
In 2011 657 beggars were deported, while during last Ramadan, 168 beggars were deported.
Brigadier Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police also encouraged residents not to give money to children who beg as it saves them from exploitation.
“People who have limited resources or face difficult situations in the UAE can contact any of the authorised charity and humanitarian organisations, who will study their individual cases and offer them help in a legal and safe manner,” he noted.
“Many thieves take begging as a cover for their activities. They just knock at doors, pretending to be beggars. When no on answers, they rob the house. Other beggars resort to innovative ways to win the sympathy of people during Ramadan such as changing the features of their bodies so they will look as if they have a handicap,” he told the paper.
Residents are urged to report beggars on the 800243 hotline.
Sharjah Police also have a dedicated toll-free number 065632222 to report cases of begging in all its forms.
Residents can also report illegal car washers in public streets, street vendors, people who use their houses to display products, and loitering and other actions.
Sharjah Police also called on the public to display a sense of tolerance and maintain the sanctity of Ramadan.
The police can be contacted on 800 151 or via SMS on 7999 SMS or vial e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org