With More Than 60 Million Pieces of Weapons Wondering Why the Crime Rate is Increasing? [Archives:2002/05/Viewpoint]

January 28 2002

The latest report released by the Ministry of Interior about the crime rate revealed an undeniable fact that the Ministry is confessing: Rate of Crime in Yemen is in the Rise.
Well, to answer this question, let us analyze the types of crimes that are pointed out in the report. Those crimes include: Murder, robbery, theft, violence, revenge, kidnapping, etc.
First of all, we need to see what is common in all crimes. That is obviously weapons. Yemen has almost 10th of the worlds light weapons. In numbers, that is more than 60 million pieces of weapons. It is not easy to guess why it is easy for anyone to commit any crime with such a huge number of weapons circulated in the country.
However, to use weapons, there should be a motive. The main motive behind crimes in Yemen nowadays is most probably poverty. Yemenis are getting poorer and poorer everyday, with the line of poverty climbing continuously. Today, more than 60% of the population are below the poverty line, and the ration is going up by the year.
With a population that is mostly illiterate, it is easy to ignite violence by applying backward traditions and norms that result in vengeance and violence. Most of the violent acts that erupt among the least educated tribal communities of the country are a result of ignorance and out-dated mentalities that call for revenge. There hardly passes any month without hearing of death incidents because of tribal fighting over land or other disputes.
The country has gone through enough pain and misery that there needs to be a common understanding of the necessity to stop this mess.
Yemen has already been exhausted by continuous violence and fighting. Where is the wisdom that we were known for? Where is the stability that was once known to be one of Yemens landmarks, resulting in naming Yemen the Arabia Felix?
The opposition and independent press used to say it all the time Things are getting out of control. Crime rates are increasing. Violence is in the rise. But no one would listen. Yemen has now been destined to have one of the highest crime rates in the region, and this is being confessed by the government itself.
The warning signs are clear, and something needs to be done as soon as possible. As a citizen of this country, I plead to President Saleh to rescue the situation by addressing the issue of weapons, poverty, and education. I know that there are laws to regulate the carrying of this huge number of weapons, but it is time to reduce those weapons by confiscating the illegal ones.But from the last interviews with the President, I feel that he is still not convinced that we should reduce the number of weapons. I cannot imagine that such a huge amount of weapons could possibly be regulated anywhere on this planet.
I hope that our leader would realize that regulation is not enough, reduction is a MUST, and I hope he realizes this before it is too late.