by Dayo Laniyan
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has listed London’s Oxford Street on a map of the most “dangerous areas” for Emirati tourists in the capital.
This warning has come after two separate attacks on Emirati tourists in London this year: In April three Emirati sisters were attacked in their hotel room at Marble Arch, and two weeks later a couple were robbed at gun point in Paddington.
Included in this map of “dangerous areas” includes Edgware Road, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Soho, Marble Arch and Piccadilly, created by the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs using the Met Police’s freely available crime mapping website.
The ministry said these areas had high rates for fraud, theft and pickpocketing. “This area includes famous Selfridges, which attacks many Emiratis,” a spokesman said. However both tourism officials and the Met Police have reported an overall drop in crime of 17% in the West End since 2007, robberies being at their lowest level in 15 years and also burglaries since 1974.
Emirati tourist Mona Al Ali told the National newspaper in Dubai: “I will definitely be avoiding those areas the next time I go to London because this is like an official warning from the ministry…I think maybe people from the Gulf are more targeted there because of their lifestyle. They might not be too discreet with their jewellery when they travel and they wear nice clothes.”
Makhdum Chishty, Metropolitan Police commander said “There is absolutely nowhere in London which should be avoided. We understand the incidents involving Emirati nationals earlier this year was shocking, but it was also very, very rare.”
“Police presence is high and post-Ramadan with the traditional influx of visitors from the UAE, we reviewed our policing plans so we have a strong presence from our policing teams and officers working in plain clothes. We are also profiling busy times of the week when visitor spots and iconic destinations in central London become busy.”