Unemployment and crime are directly proportional to each other and the Sultanate sees no exception to this rule.
An increase in joblessness is fuelling crime rate in Brunei, said Dato Paduka Seri Awang Bahrin bin Mohd Noor, Commissioner of the Royal Brunei Police Force.
“Jobless people contribute to the rise in crime. I urged the youth to take up jobs to support life,” he said.
However, the rise in crime rate in the Sultanate is still controllable, he added.
“The government has introduced a policy to restrict foreign workers’ employment through the Ministry of Home Affairs recently. It is up to the youth to grab such job opportunities,” Dato Bahrin said.
According to studies, unemployment is a key factor leading to crime because the person is marked by the deterioration of living standards – its emotional structure becomes unstable, the family is affected and the person cannot control his desires – and in this context is influenced to commit crimes. When men are out of a job they are more likely to steal because the risks seem more worthwhile.
According to the commissioner, crime rate in Brunei is showing an upward trend this year as well. Last year, 6,824 crimes were recorded in the Sultanate, up by 383 cases compared to 2013 when 6441 cases were reported, according to police statistics. Of this, RBPF alone recorded 5,850 crimes while the rest were recorded by other agencies like Immigration and Customs.
Crimes against property constituted the biggest chunk of cases (3,854) last year, followed by other offences against The Penal Code (1,263), other agencies cases (974), offences towards human body (545) and offences against various acts (188).
However, car stealing cases have been decreasing this year, Dato Paduka Seri Bahrin said. “Car theft occurs partly due to the carelessness of the drivers who leave their cars unattended keeping the engine running, for instance, while going out to buy groceries. Some steal cars just for joyride and leaves them when they run out of petrol,” he said.
The Commissioner of RBPF said installation of CCTV cameras has also helped reduce crime rate in the country especially in commercial areas like Gadong and Kiulap. “We are increasing the installation of CCTVs in this country.”
Installation of CCTVs at residential areas by the public has also led to a decline in crimes as well as assisted police in apprehending the criminals. It is hoped that the public could utilise the technology for their benefits.
Asked on ill effects of social media and spreading rumours, Dato Paduka Seri Bahrin said it is happening not only in Brunei Darussalam but also globally. In many such cases, when the police interviewed the perpetrators some claimed they just did it for fun.
But is there a need to verify all that has been spread on social media? the Commissioner of RBPF asked. “We have to think about its implication. If it has a negative implication to the national security, then we will investigate. We have to be selective as sometimes it would be personal in nature. If we have to investigate all, there’s a lot.”
On online sexual exploitation, or sextortion, he said, the RBPF will investigate and bring the culprits to court But mostly, the perpetrators are from outside Brunei. It won’t be a straight forward case to investigate.