Studies focusing on communities with public housing units have consistently found that these communities have higher rates of violence and victimization as compared to similar areas without public housing.* Further, public housing estates in Britain, the United States, and Australia are frequently plagued by crime problems.** Experience in the Maldives in relation to tsunami temporary housing and Sinamale also corroborates this, though no formal research has been done. This raises questions about the advisability of going for public housing such as flats, especially in a country already plagued by rising crime rates.
In nearly all islands with mass tsunami housing, be it Hulhudhuffaaru, Ungoofaaru or Bruruni, rifts developed between the immigrants and the local communities because of high crime rates among immigrant youth. And yet, the same youth were innocent young men before they moved into public housing and got involved in drugs.
Sinamale in the capital is a hotbed of crime, where drug deals are made openly. Under-age kids who work in regular shift duties to peddle drugs have become so rich that many of them drive battery cycles (too young to get license).
Considering these facts, how advisable is it to build more flats in Male and other crowded islands? This is an issue policy makers need to ponder.