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Tougher laws, punishment can help curb mall brawls Implement ‘Project Hostile Intent’

In order to end violence in commercial complexes in Kuwait a group of Kuwaiti youths launched a campaign to deal with the increasing number of violent incidents involving stabbing and sometimes killings (see Arab Times Dec 19, 2013). I applaud the efforts of youths who campaign against negative phenomenon in society. However, the most disturbing phenomenon we currently witness in Kuwait is the ever increasing number of youths and young people’s fights in malls. In fact, it is becoming somewhat difficult to visit some commercial complexes and malls due to the increasing number of hooliganism incidents and anti-social behaviors. These incidents range from eve-teasing, harassing women and fist fights among some rowdy persons. I think that the best strategy to fight against violence in Kuwaiti malls comes through the implementation of tougher laws and the application of severe punishments against those who commit such anti-social behaviors.

It is actually becoming quite difficult for expat and Kuwaiti families to enjoy their free time in some malls due to the presence of some boisterous, ill-behaved, vulgar and violent young men. Instead of becoming places where people from all walks of life congregate, some malls seemed to have transformed into places where local social tensions become rather high. In other words, the open spaces in malls are supposed to provide shoppers with free time and space where they can do their shopping; eat lunch or dinner and meet friends. However, some anti-social persons seem to use these malls to inflict whatever damage they can do against a society they feel alienated from. Whether they complain against imagined or real social injustices, negligence from society, or face problems with their dysfunctional families, some rowdy youths seem to use malls to relieve those tensions! For instance, some young men do actually visit malls for one particular purpose: eve-teasing, which is one way or the other a form of sexual harassment against women. 

In the United States for example the Department of Homeland Security sponsors a security program called ‘Project Hostile Intent’ to “sponsor research to inform, develop, and test tools and methodologies to assess terrorist threats, understand terrorism, and improve national security.” The PHI uses “surveillance cameras and body heat sensors” to predict violent behavior (source:

A government in a rich country like Kuwait can use security tools similar to what is currently used in Project Hostile Intent to predict violent behavior in malls. Ultimately, the government has a responsibility to stop anti-social and violent behavior in malls. For example, it can require mall owners to install screening devices at the gates of these malls. Moreover, the implementation of tougher laws against anti-social behavior needs to be followed by tougher sentencing against those who commit violent actions in malls.

By Khalid Aljenfawi

By: Khalid Aljenfawi

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