Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Preventing Anti Social Behavior
Attorney General Husnu Suood has taken a decisive step towards preventing anti social behavior by presenting to the Majlis a bill on the subject for the first time ever in the Maldives. The bill along with another related bill on gang violence will lay a comprehensive legal framework to address the twin issues.
Suood’s initiative brings to the top of the national agenda a grossly neglected area of social development –a neglect that has cost the nation heavily in terms of skyrocketing juvenile delinquency and uncontrollable crime rates. The magnitude of the social cost can easily be estimated by comparing Maldives crime rates with those of Singapore where a comprehensive program to shape the behavior of its citizens has been in place ever since its independence in 1965.
Police statistics show that the number of arrests in Maldives among ‘children’ below 18 years rose from 209 in 2001 to 564 in 2007. This increase is fuelled by drugs for which 164 people under 18 were arrested. For the related crimes of theft and violence 158 and 160 people were arrested respectively.
Study after study has shown that the usual route to crime is: School dropout --> hanging around street corners --> smoking --> drugs --> Gang formation --> serious crimes.
Many experts believe that children’s habits of staying awake till late at night and going out without parental supervision contribute to anti social behavior. The bill presented to the Majlis will address this and other similar issues.