JEDDAH, 19 May 2008 — A study conducted by the Interior Ministry’s research center has found that burglary cases in the Kingdom are on the rise, especially in the main cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Dammam.“Every day several cases of burglary take place across the country,” said Dr. Sultan Al-Anqari, director of the center.
The study revealed that unemployment and the spread of drug abuse among Saudi youth are the main reasons for increasing crime in the Kingdom. “Three-fourths of 816 burglars interviewed for the study were unemployed and aged below 30,” Al-Anqari said. Saudis topped the list, followed by Yemenis and Chadians.

Al-Anqari, who conducted the study with the support of Khaled Al-Madi, Abdul Mohsen Al-Saif, Hamad Abu Humaid, Abdul Rahman Al-Jaloud and Muslim Al-Muslim, said the majority of robbers were secondary school certificate holders. Their economic condition was bad and two-thirds of them did not have a house to live in, he added.

Burglars committed their crime generally on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when residents of houses were away, the study found. About 61.4 percent of burglars said they committed their crimes at night. Some of them collected information about the house before the crime. “The majority of thefts took place when the inhabitants were away and when the thieves found it easy to enter the houses,” the study said.

About 33 percent of burglars said they committed the crime for money, while others said they did it when they were in bad company and when they had plenty of spare time. “Most burglars said they entered the house when they found the gates open,” Al-Anqari said.

The largest number of burglaries took place in Riyadh (36.4 percent), followed by Makkah and Dammam. The majority of the victims were Saudis and Pakistanis who lived in the heart of cities (80.2 percent). The majority of thefts took place inside houses while others were inside the walls surrounding the homes. Two-thirds of the victims said the criminals entered their houses after breaking the main doors. Jewelry was the main target of burglars (31.1 percent), followed by money, electrical appliances, gas cylinders and official and personal documents, guns and furniture. The study also revealed that most victims (78.1 percent) did not inform their neighbors or friends that they would be away and did not ask the neighbors to keep an eye on the premises.

About 93.5 percent of houses robbed had no insurance coverage against thefts, the study found. The victims were quick in informing police after discovering the crimes and in 75.4 percent of cases, police arrived at the house immediately after the crime, it said, adding that most victims were happy with the police response.

The study contained recommendations to prevent burglary, including the intensification of police patrols, fighting unemployment and drugs, imposition of tough punishments on burglars, flushing out illegal foreigners, enlightening the public on taking precautionary measures and the installation of warning devices.

The Ministry of Social Affairs was urged to take measures to improve the condition of the poor and needy, especially in slum areas, and meet their welfare requirements. The study emphasized the need to take care of youngsters who represented the majority of burglars and create more jobs for them.