EIRUT: Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud returned 19 stolen cars and motorbikes to their owners during a news conference held on Friday, as the authorities unveiled statistics showing a drop-off in crime. Baroud said that car thefts have recently decreased by 66 percent thanks to the efforts of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the army. “Our goal is to reach a stage where there are no more car thefts,” he said.
Baroud added that the ISF and the judicial police made “remarkable efforts” in fighting crime, especially in the last few days. The minister referred to the kidnapping of two young men earlier this week and the arrest of their kidnappers. “I think people should feel more secure and should have more faith in security forces,” he said.
Baroud added that the government was working on empowering security forces with the help of various countries, and urged the public to help the ISF in its crime-fighting efforts because it was everyone’s duty.
The ISF also released a statement in which it reiterated that the rate of car thefts has decreased during the year 2009.
The statement said car thefts decreased from 92 stolen cars in December 2008 to 60 stolen cars in December 2009. It added that 99 people were mugged in December 2008 while only 60 were mugged in December 2009; and that the number of people killed because of various crimes declined from 10 in December 2008 to four in December 2009. However, the statement said theft incidents and robberies increased in 2009 compared to 2008.
Security sources also reported a crackdown on crime as 28 people were arrested on Friday for various crimes conducted in different regions of the country.
The judicial police arrested five Lebanese and two Palestinians in Mkalles in Mount Lebanon for encouraging and facilitating prostitution, as well as a 20-year-old Syrian woman suspected of prostitution. It also arrested two women aged 54 and 53 for prostitution in Jal al-Dib in Mount Lebanon.
The Judicial Police arrested a man in Doha in Beirut for several thefts conducted in Khaldeh, Ain al-Rummaneh, Choueifat, Doha Aramoun, Bshamoun, Hadath, Sainte Therese, Jounieh and Jdeideh. The suspect had 24 arrest warrants issued against him and possessed a weapon and a fake taxi license when he was stopped. The police also found a hand grenade, fake currency, credit cards, computers, gold jewelry and a wristwatch in the suspect’s apartment in Adonis in Mount Lebanon.
Security sources said the Anti-Drug Department arrested two people in the south, one person in the north and three people in the Bekaa for drug trafficking, while the Anti-Terrorism Department arrested a man for firing gunshots while another man was arrested in Tripoli in the north for the same charge. Four other people were arrested in Tripoli for raping a minor and engaging in homosexual activities and one was arrested for theft.
A Lebanese and a Syrian were also arrested in Jounieh for issuing bad checks. – The Daily Star