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Thieves raid compounds.

THEFTS from three exclusive residential compounds - City Park, Arabian Homes and Lari Park - have left many tenants feeling vulnerable. Two compound burglaries happened in the middle of the night when thieves entered villas from partially open windows and stole valuables.

It is believed that the thieves may be operating in small gangs as several villas in each compound have been targeted during a single night.

"This is an unusual happening especially in compounds. I was aware of incidents of thefts and break-ins in downtown Manama areas like Gudaibiya, Hoora etc but never here," said expat Frank Carter, who has lived in Budaiya since 1999.

"What is frightening is that the thieves are walking around your house while the children and their parents are asleep," said a resident of City Park who did not want to be named. "I have started bringing both my children in my room every night and we sleep with the bedroom door locked," she added.

Another Saar resident said: "I have been living in Bahrain for more than two years and didn't feel the need to lock my doors until now.

"It is such a shame that this has happened because one of the delights of living here is not having to worry about the thieving and vandalism so common in inner-city England."

Compounds, which mostly included entrance gate guards, are particularly popular with expat families because they offer a heightened sense of security as well as affording children space and freedom to play in safety. As a result many homes on compounds have higher rents than some stand-alone villas.

Many compound owners in the area are taking stricter security measures by locking entrance gates at night and have sent out notices to all their residents instructing them to be vigilant.

"We have been asked to inform maintenance immediately of any faulty window locks," said Syed Aqdas Ahmad, a senior Pakistani banker who moved into Venice Gardens on Janabiyah Highway last month.

"The notice also instructs us to keep our doors locked at all times and not to open doors to strangers. I have formally asked the management to beef up security around our compound because if they are charging so much rent then they can surely spend a bit of that for the safety of the residents."

Police have increased patrols in the area too and embassies in the kingdom have urged residents to take sensible precautions.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Apr 12, 2009
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