Rehabilitation and housing vital to combat Male’s youth crime, say police

The Maldives Police Service has backed claims by the country’s Housing Minister that congested living conditions in Male’ are proving to be a major contributor to ongoing youth crime, though the organisation adds that addressing the issue of rehabilitation for young offenders is just as big a concern.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Ahmed Shiyam accepted that high levels of congestion resulting from large numbers of people travelling and settling in the capital has led to little living space for many youngsters, who are being left to aimlessly roam the capital’s streets.

The comments follow claims last week by Home Minister Mohamed Shihab suggesting that escalating crime rates in the capital were a result of insufficient housing conditions that have made young people more susceptible to criminal activity out whilst in Male’.

“When we were young, we could play indoors. We did not have to go out. Now we are forced to go out and meet up with a gang and are caught up in a hassle,” Shihab was reported as saying in Haveeru. “Crime-free places do not exist now. But our living conditions are forcing us to walk into gangs.”

In response to these comments, Shiyam said that the capital is becoming increasingly cramped as more and more people travel to Male’ from outlying islands for work, often leaving young people little alternative than to head out aimlessly onto the streets. It is this aimlessness that the police spokesperson claims young people are increasingly telling officers was the main reason for them running into trouble with the law.

While not every person out on the streets is prone to taking part in criminal acts, in cases where an individual is convicted of involvement in civil disturbances, Shiyam noted that accruing a criminal record for drugs or other civil offences can make it extremely difficult to secure jobs or rehabilitation in the future.

He added that the country’s police force alone is not able to combat these issues, it has launched some programmes in an attempt to rehabilitate young men of between 12 to 14 years of age that have been involved in criminal or possible gang activity.

Some of the schemes being adopted by the police included literally taking young offenders off the streets of Male’ to more secluded island environments in attempts to try and engage different types of learning and cultural experiences.

“Sometimes when we take [young people] to separated and secluded islands, we find these boys do not even know how to pray,” he added.

The police spokesperson explained that additional skills such as computing, photography and art are also being taught to try and encourage a more productive or practical interest in society.

Shiyam claimed the police were having “great success” in running these rehabilitation and activity programmes with young people, although similar programmes with older offenders were not yet being undertaken.

He added that government institutions such as the Ministry of Human Resources Youth and Sports also have similar mandates for providing rehabilitation and activity programmes to try and ensure that young people have options available to them. For those that do get in trouble with the law, the police spokesperson says he remains hopeful that more projects to try to train and rehabilitate young people will be put into practice in the next few years.

It is not just local authorities that are concerned about the impact of Male’s congested housing on young people.

Executive Producer for the Maldives Nation Broadcast Corporation (MNBC)’s Youth TV service, Ibrahim Muaz, said he agreed that congested housing conditions in the capital were certainly exacerbating unrest and discontent among young people.

However, Muaz added that “it was unfair to marginalise young people as the sole perpetrators of crime in the Maldives.”

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12 thoughts on “Rehabilitation and housing vital to combat Male’s youth crime, say police”

  1. do we even have social scientists like social psychologist, sociologist to give feed back and suggestions on solving these problems.
    we are spending millions on the majlis with half retards, and yet we havn't got a single scientist at work to figure out the problems and solutions.

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  2. earthing. You are partially right on Majlis.

    Some are retards, while others are con-artists seeking opportunities where ever they go.
    The latter is much worse, because they are controlling the retards like puppets, toying with religion and public ignorance and abusing failed justice system.

    And they are destroying the country.

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  3. Housing is a major concern for even basic living let alone a healthy lifestyle and crime is a long term symptom - one of the many that arises out of collective social problems. It is too simplistic to be put the way it is in the article because there are many issues that link up to both issues which are tow major social problems in Maldives

    The centralization was a control mechanism of the previous Government which brought the men from the islands to earn in this region and families of those who could afford which crippled the island economies. Further Male' was the front that the International donors saw to convince them that their effort was slowly successful in developing a third world country, and the islands remained poor and unattended to convince the donors to give more money to build schools while the countries wealth was pocketed by the political elite (government or selected businesses)

    However the crimes is a result of something more than the housing issue. A well managed and educated society has not problems if the young people and children went out. I do not advocate that anyone should stay in the four walls of his/her home. In and outside, people must have facilities and conditions that make them feel well and secure.

    Hulhumale which was meant to be affordable decent living has not worked out because it is badly planned and managed at an institutional, social and physical level. The corporation of Hulhumale and the intention the island was initially planned contradicts vastly.

    The aimlessness of the youth lies in lack of all the requirements for youth. Requirements means broadly categorized what ensures youth mental and physical health. We should not forget that those in crime on the street are also youth. So which youth are we talking about?

    The police deals with crime only when the social problem of crime starts. Rehabilitation is the same as putting plaster of the wound. Or like treating a cancer that refused to heal. Once again it requires changes in the system. Changes in the social services, structures, policies, legislation etc.

    There is no need for any crime at any social level and there is no need to isolate any groups in the society. We need to see US as one - our country, our society, our people, our children. We have got to separating homes and communities, Male' and the islands.

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  4. last sentence
    We have got to STOP separating homes and communities, Male’ and the islands.

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  5. poverty is the root cause.
    Just look at one of those guys.. few eat a proper diet. They cannot get it.. poor body structure, no shape.. And how many Maldivains are malnourished?

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  6. Let us assume there were enough housing for all living in Male', would youth who roam the street aimless today suddenly rehabilitate themselves and stay inside the house without committing crimes. hell no!

    Availability of more affordable housing will not solve crime, it will just make housing more affordable to our pockets. isnt this just common sense!

    Crime amongst youth cannot be solved with a quick fix. youth crime is the result of years of mismanagement of the youth population. They were put through a broken education system that saw more students failing to complete A levels successfully. And to compound the problem, the job market was not geared to employ the youth. The gap between students finishing education and entering working population resulting in all this aimlessness.

    Furthermore, maldivians have a social problem when it comes to employment. no respectable family dreams their children to become general manager or master chef of a resort or an education in fisheries science. Its always a doctor, teacher or they send children off to do an IT or graphics design degree in Malaysia.

    why not enter hospitality or fisheries- these are the only two industries that will give a decent earning to maldivian living in the maldives.

    So, i have to say, this government is bit like a gold fish in a bowl. the bowl is its the manifesto they have done and the gold fish is this government. all the gold fish will see of the outside world is distorted by the manifesto bowl.

    So that is why solving crime is being equated to better housing.

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  7. i propose
    1. strict islamic sharia (the criminal code part) to frighten off the gangsters.
    2. make it tough for expats to work where locals can work. Of course it will raise the price a little bit but atleast the dollars will be inside the country.
    3. forbid sub-contracting of works which is only useful to enrich a few at the expense of others.
    4. bring down cost of education: Cost of education is almost a luxury here.

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  8. What are sad, sorry state that we are in today. The social and economic problems that are so prevalent in our society are constantly ignored, day in and day out. The constant stories of domestic abuse, sex crimes, molestation are put to a side. Peddlers of illegal drugs roam the streets lined with gangs of youth, oblivious to their potential, driven to be the way they are through desperation. A culture lost, our history a distant reminder of a once proud, hardworking people.

    We can still fix these issues, but only by cultivating an ideology that we are so reluctant to grasp...and getting rid of these bullshit peddlers who call themselvs parliamentarians.

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  9. I am sorry but you are all partially correct but not entirely. The real answer is over-population, the world is suffering from this and the Maldives unfortunately more accutely. Unless we stop increasing the size of the popultaion then all the prblems we face today will only get worse. Did you know worldwide every year the populataion increases by 50 million, the planet I am afraid cannot sustain that growth, we must stop.Think about it..!!

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  10. Over population and lack of capital cannot be a logical reason for the problems of the world and ours. Its a perspective used by greedy elites, capitalists and economists to con the laymen.

    The actual reason is related with wealth and the distribution of wealth. Instead of promoting a right-wing business policy that will direct all the wealth in the hands of elites who hold land and capital, we need to find a new system that empowers middle class and poor citizens to eliminate poverty.

    When abundant supply of labor competes for a scarce supply of jobs the situation of youths will remain the same and that's the aim of the current system.
    Instead we need a system that supports more self employment. Provide more incentives and facilities. But I guess alternative economic systems will not be taught in our education systems controlled by the elites.

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  11. is this a news!! congestion or blockage it's not a reason police can justify their incompetency in curbing violence and drugs in male

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