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Sharp rise seen in ‘muggings’ near malls, money exchanges – ‘Heighten security to curb eve-teasing, bag-snatching’

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 16:The number of cases related to mugging registered in the first quarter of 2016 was 85, which represents an increase by 54.5 percent compared to the 55 cases registered in the first quarter of last year, as per statistics issued by Ministry of Justice for the first quarter, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

There have been an increasing number of complaints from both citizens and expatriates regarding snatching of women’s handbags around commercial complexes in various areas of the country. This phenomenon has lead to public discomfort and sense of lack of security. Several citizens and expatriates stressed the need for increasing security presence around commercial complexes, and security posts in order to deter those who are tempted to snatch handbags or rob shoppers especially loiterers who hang around behind these complexes.

They also insisted on the need for installing security cameras around commercial complexes which could help in deterring and arresting petty criminals. In an investigative interview, a Kuwaiti citizen Abu Hassan said he witnessed a mugging incident just last week when a handbag containing KD 700 was snatched from a woman. He indicated that the high rate of marginalized workers and unemployment in the country has led to emergence of many social diseases.

Abu Hassan revealed that some of these muggers wear Kuwaiti national dress; however, it is evident from their looks that they are not citizens but possibly Bedoun or some Arab nationals who use the national dress to commit crimes. Abu Zayed, the owner of a jewelry shop, emphasized the importance of installing security cameras around commercial complexes to monitor security and to identify those who violate safety and security of the shoppers, revealing that such incidents sometimes happen in broad daylight.

Abdul Hadi Mohammadi, who is in charge of a money exchange shop, indicated that such shops are usually favored by muggers due to which they have to be careful when carrying out the process of exchanging money such as by taking the money from the client first and then serving him/her.

He revealed that significant number of mugging cases happen in front of money exchange shops because of which it is necessary to have security posts and patrols in the vicinity for preserving and maintaining the safety and security of shoppers. Another citizen Mohammad Al-Dhufairi argued that Ministry of Interior is not obliged to provide security in commercial complexes and that it is the responsibility of those complexes to ensure security both inside and outside their premises. He lamented that the number of private security personnel in most of these complexes is not enough, indicating that most of them are always sitting and playing with their phones.

He wondered, “How can they deter crimes in this manner?” Umm Saud said she has been hearing about mugging incidents especially against women in front of jewelry shops inside commercial complexes. Due to this reason, she does not feel secure about going alone to buy gold. She insisted on the need for increasing security presence in major shopping complexes such as those in Farwaniya, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Khaitan, indicating that such a move will enhance the sense of security despite the huge number of loiterers found in such complexes. In addition, Abdullah Yousef indicated that incidents of mugging and robbery accompanied with violence have become widespread in the country in the recent years especially in areas like Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, as there are many people living there who are in violation of the residency law. He said, “This problem has reached such an extent that I am unable to send my wife to shopping complexes alone as I am scared she will get mugged or harassed by loitering youths. I have also been hearing about incidents of people snatching women’s handbags”.

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