An official security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Lebanese people “are peaceful compared to others,” stating that 71 individual crimes were recorded in the first half of 2018, compared to 89 crimes during the same period last year.
“The rate of crimes over personal issues has declined despite the proliferation of weapons, but the spread of news through social media without the required scrutiny leads to the negative amplification of reality,” the source said.
“Perpetrators are arrested within 72 hours after the crime,” the source added.
The official’s statements came to deny a report that indicated that 62 individual murders occurred only in July and to explain that based on “accurate official statistics”, a decrease of 20% in crimes was registered in the first half of the current year.
The report noted that 25% of perpetrators were Syrian refugees, Palestinians and persons of other nationalities. It added that theft and pocketing incidents were reduced by 50% compared to previous years.
On the other hand, the concerned associations and institutions find that the security chaos in Lebanon remains a cause for concern as long as the weapons are available without restrictions.
They also warn of new forms of crimes emerging in the Lebanese society, including murders within family members or because of disputes over the priority of circulation or parking, or an anger crime caused by drugs or alcohol. According to the associations, the situation can go so frantic, like what happened when a Lebanese fan of an international football team killed a supporter of another team during the recent World Cup earlier this summer.
“Individual crime rates will rise as long as lack of control of weapons continues,” said Fadi Abu Allam, the Lebanese prime minister’s advisor for human security and the head of the Permanent Peace Movement.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Allam said: “The desire to armament dates back to the civil war and to the feeling of the need for self-protection, because the law is absent during the periods of security tension, that in addition to customs and traditions.”
“The arms regulation law falls within a legislative decree issued in 1959, the articles of which have not been amended, nor are there any controls or provisions that guarantee prevention with the presence of weapons with people,” he added.
According to Abu Allam, “in addition to the spread of weapons, we have other factors such as poverty, unemployment, imbalance of education, lack of ethics, security chaos… All these factors combined have contributed to the high crime rate in Lebanon.”
The security source rejected, however, any exaggeration about the reality of the crime rate in Lebanon, given the intensive efforts to control the security. The official also denied the presence of political interference in the arrest of perpetrators.
“The directives of the Director General of the Internal Security Forces are clear in this regard,” he stressed.
“Lebanon is one of the safest areas in the world, as a result of the efforts of the security forces and full coordination with the competent bodies to control the situation,” the source concluded.