By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: March 27 – The crime rate in Oman has declined by 7.5 per cent last year thanks to the constant efforts of the law enforcement authorities, awareness campaigns and stringent punitive measures by various authorities, according to the Public Prosecution. The total number of cases last year stood at 37,972 against 41,072 in 2015, a reduction of nearly 7.5 per cent, said Mohammed Said al Yahyaei, Assistant Attorney General and Director-General of Muscat Public Prosecution.
“Constant campaigns, awareness about stringent punishments and efforts by various sections of the society has helped in reducing crimes in the country by 7.5 per cent,” Al Yahyaei said at the annual Public Prosecution press briefing. There is a huge drop in the number of cases handled by the Directorate General of Investigations and Pleadings by 48.3 per cent in 2016. “The Public Prosecution would like to confirm its actions are within the norms set by the Royal orders of His Majesty and the parameters of the nation’s criminal procedures,” said Dr Ahmed bin Said al Shukaili, Assistant Attorney General and Manager of the Attorney General Office.
The Directorate General of Public Prosecution in the Governorate of Muscat received 22.8 per cent of the total cases or 8,673 (the highest number), followed by the Directorate General for Public Prosecution in the Governorate of North Al Batinah with 6,684 or 17.6 per cent, he added.
Bausher reported 2,809 cases and Salalah had 5,481 cases.
“The Public Prosecution will continue to be strict on human rights violation, human trafficking, misuse of public funds, bribery, pornography and public order cases. We have also initiated various legal awareness campaign against all the cases and another notable change is that there has been a substantial decline in juvenile crimes,” said Ahmed Hamed al Rawahi, Senior Public Prosecutor and Public Funds Administrator, and added that the exact figures will be with the Ministry of Social development.
However, the available data with the Public Prosecution suggests that juveniles constitute 4 per cent of the total number of the defendants with 1,090 juvenile defendants, a decrease of 102 in comparison with that in 2015.
Additionally, the highest number of crimes took place in the month of June with 5,911 cases, while July had just 1,883 crimes throughout the country.
In terms of nationalities, foreign nationals committing crimes showed a marginal fall from 41 per cent in 2015 to 40 per cent in 2016. The number of foreign defendants stood at 15,114, while the same of Omanis is 22,888.
“The number of executed judgements also declined by 4 per cent. Last year we have executed 12,434 judgements and the most important one is that there are no repeated crimes and the Public Prosecution has been all the more equipped with advanced IT solutions,” he added, saying that the number of unexecuted judgements in 2016 was 615 in comparison with 814 in 2015, a decrease of 199 judgements and 24.4 per cent. While most of the cheque bouncing cases were settled amicably between the parties concerned, the total amount collected for the public interest in 2016 stood RO 3,234,770 and the amount transferred from Public Prosecution to the Ministry of Finance during the period stood at RO 14,766,115.
On the other hand, the number of cases under investigation stood at 1,710, which constitute 5 per cent of the total received cases.
In 2015, 1,957 cases were under investigation with the same percentage, yet there is a decrease in the number of undecided cases by 247 cases, the officials said. The number of cases of misdemeanour reported to the Public Prosecution in 2016 declined by 8.8 per cent from 37,332 in 2015 to 34,065. The misdemeanours constituted 90.9 per cent of the total number of cases in 2016, the same in 2015 as well.
In 2016, the Public Prosecution referred 14,576 cases or 38 per cent of the total number of cases to the court, compared to 17,181 cases in 2016; a decline by 15.2 per cent.