x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Broken homes cause crime, police chief says

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim has some ideas about how to reduce crime in the UAE.

DUBAI // Broken homes and the young people they produce are a leading source of juvenile crime, Dubai's police chief said yesterday.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim called for a yearly review of such homes and said a close watch should be kept on young people from fragmented families.

The police chief spoke after four men aged 18 to 26 were arrested in Sharjah in connection with the death this week of an alcohol bootlegger. "All such crimes are rooted in broken homes. The family is the cornerstone of any crime-free society and is also the source of crime-ridden societies if it is not taken care of and observed," Gen Tamim said.

"Studies conducted by us show that these gangs come from broken families, which breed weak personalities and delinquent youths."

Social workers and the institutions for which they work, such as the Ministry of Social Affairs, should lead the campaign, he said. "It's their responsibility. We need to establish a yearly conference on youth crime and present the numbers on them, the reasons and what is to be done."

The police chief said: “The problems stem from families that have the heads married to more than one woman – forced marriages of youth, for example.

“The lack of social awareness leads to juveniles getting into crime and criminal activities.”

The police chief called on social workers to involve themselves more aggressively in the issue and present whatever help they can to disaffected young people.

“Urban planners also need to take into account the socio-economic factors of families grouped together in neighbourhoods. The random mix of people leads to negative behaviour among youth, which ultimately leads to crime.”

In January a sharp increase was reported in juvenile crimes involving swords and knives. Three months later the Government announced plans for a new edged-weapons law and a new federal juvenile law to address the trend.

The proposed laws, which are being drafted by the ministries of interior, justice and social affairs, include curfews for children under 15 and a ban on children buying items that could be used as weapons.

As a part of these efforts, the Dubai Economic Department seized 850 swords, knives and daggers sold illegally in antique and hunting stores, they said yesterday.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have started scrutinising the ‘cold weapons’ trade,” said Ibrahim Bahzad, head of field inspections at the department.

The widespread availability of concealed weapons, including walking sticks with hidden blades, was also an issue, said Mr Bahzad.

He said the campaign, Operation Samurai, would continue until the end of the year.

amustafa@thenational.ae