Sharp drop in theft cases in five years

Muscat, March 14 – The number of robbery related cases in the Sultanate declined 83.6 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to a study titled ‘Problems of theft among juveniles and adults in Omani society’, conducted by the Ministry of Social Development.
A total of 2,127 crimes were committed by 2,483 people in 2016.
The study attributed the decrease to the measures taken by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and other agencies as well as the hiring of young Omanis, which significantly contributed to the reduction in crime rate in general and thefts in particular.
The most common crimes were house burglaries, shoplifting and vehicle thefts.
The government buildings, banks and money exchanges were not so vulnerable.
The high incidence of thefts of houses and shops were attributed to the neglect by victims in protecting their property.
The ‘feeling of safety’ made the residents ignore the minimum preventive measures to secure their homes.
On the other hand, additional precautions were taken at government buildings and banks with the installation of burglar alarms and surveillance systems.
The study covered 444 prison inmates accused of theft, 88 of whom were juveniles. “The main reasons for committing crimes were lack of awareness about penalties, no financial support from families, a monthly income of less than RO 300 and unemployment,” the study has found.
The other reason was ‘love for possession of things’, especially during childhood and adolescence.
One group of juveniles said they learnt about robbery from friends and through smartphones. Some said they knew how the police would operate, which helped them avoid detection.
The study also covered expatriates accused of robbery.
They expressed their ignorance of the Omani Penal Code and the penalties for thefts.
The other reasons for crimes by expats are: revenge (because of poor relations between sponsor and worker), alcohol and drug addiction, desperation for money and lack of surveillance systems in houses.
The study led to a series of proposals, including a recommendation for establishing a national crime prevention commission, preparation of a national post-care programme for the social rehabilitation of those released from prison and reform centre, developing mechanisms to activate juvenile centres in Muscat Governorate and focusing on crime spots in the neighbourhood.