Monday, March 1, 2010

A Plug: Suburban's Muscat Crime Survey

Local Expat blogger Suburban is running a poll on burglaries in Muscat. If you know of anyone who's been burgled lately in Oman, you can send her an anon comment.

I think its a great idea, if totally non-scientific. Muscat Confidential is a big fan of data.

General word around the place is that the past 2-3 years has seen a tremendous surge in the number of house robberies in what used to be considered a non-event in Oman, both while people are away and more worryingly while people are in the house, asleep or even awake (with knives used to threaten occupants).

The cause is harder to pin down. Is it growth in heroin addicts? (who will do anything to get some cash to buy a fix). The illegal arrivals from AFPAK? The rapidly increasing numbers of unemployed or underpaid Omani youth? The Ministry crack down on free visa expats?

It would be very interesting to see some ROP data on this (oops, update: see end of this post!!!): numbers of cases solved vs unsolved, rates over the past few years, nationalities, locations, etc etc etc. Perhaps something for Y magazine or The Week to follow up? DATA is what we need.

Crime statistics are commonly public information in the West. The associated 'data driven' policing methodology is in part behind recent sustained drops in crime in the USA. When will we see this in Oman?

One problem with the lack of transparency and hard objective data in the public domain is that urban myths propagate needlessly. For example, the rape of an Expat woman who was playing tennis at the Intercon some time ago, by (allegedly) a gang of ex-ROP constables who she had previously had punished for sexual harassment, has been Chinese-whispered into 10s of different rapes, terrorising expat women across the Muscat area of an organised gang committing crimes at will*.

Almost all Omani I know say the burglaries couldn't be done by Omani, certainly not, because "Omani's don't commit crimes". Not 'true' Omani anyhow. They will refer to them being 'Baluchis' or 'Half Omani'. In a bizarre Omani version of detective classics where 'The Butler did it', the No. 1 suspect according to Inspector Plod in the Sultanate when there is a crime is always "The Housemaid", or the wonderful catch-all, "Indians"**.

While on many levels Oman is a weird Middle-Eastern twilight-zone cross between 1950s America and Victorian England, it seems Oman is continuing it's path to be just like everywhere else, at least when it comes to crime.

This is the life.

*This rape is a whole post on its own. Maybe I'll get around to being able to do it justice in a proper post soon. According to my pretty good sources, yes, it happened.

**This is just what happens in real life folks, that doesn't mean I agree with it! But perhaps it does reflect a statistical reality?

STOP PRESS 2008 Crime Stats online (convictions)

Wow. Thanks to anon commenter, there are some stats available! Follow this link from the Ministry of National Economy (page 16 and beyond.)


  1. Official statistics on crime in Oman for 2008 is available from MoNE here:

  2. Anon (oh I DO wish you Anons would make the teeny tiny effort to pick a *^%*(%* handle...)

    Brilliant. Many many thanks for the link. This is good stuff. I'll follow up.



  4. It is typical of the local attitude to women that prostitution is classified under "Crimes without victims".

    Remember folks.....there is no human trafficking in Oman!


  5. Rape cases in Dhofar: 2 ... this is a lie I swear. I feel like crying now.. dammit!!! > < (this isn't a very bad word isn't it?)

    Thanks for the link Anon.

  6. Whatever crime happens in Oman old Uncle Issa in the Times will blame Israel!

  7. N-C P, on a scale of 0 to 10, dammit ranks at about a 2.0.

    Maybe there were only two reported and 'solved' rapes in Dhofar.

  8. "Licit drug use" can lawful drug use be a crime?

  9. There's a silly grammatical mistake in my previous post.. was it UD editing something in it or just my poor English? know the answer, just kidding.

    I still can't believe it's two. When I went home in 2008, two of my sisters who are teachers took me to their school to do something and I had the chance to listen to the Dhofari teachers' gossips there. I heard there were 7 or 8 teachers who got raped by a gang of Omani young people from the Omani ????. Only 2?

    I know a girl who has been sexually harassed when she was 9. She was about to lose her virginity. She knows a man who has been looking at her with dirty eyes when she was younger than that. I'm not making this up. A more shocking thing is this: she was kind of sexually harassed by her uncle (or father or brother?) when she was 18. Well he didn't know that she was old enough to understand what was going around her. She has kind of phobia about men now. If she was walking alone somewhere and she saw a man coming in her way, she would look for a tree or something to hide behind. Not making this up, again.

    All that happened to one Dhofari girl from a tribe with a good reputation. Did they say 2 cases?

    Don't want to use that word again.

    Another thing, I think men who commit adultery and then marry virgins should be considered to be rapists too. That makes the number jump from 2 to 200 or more maybe.. don't know if I'm exaggerating here, but they're not few.

  10. Interesting to note that there are 3 juvenile omani females convicted of rape....
    Must be a story there....

  11. Non-crowned princess

    That rape incident have happened many years ago in remote location wasta region and not salalah. Women were drugged then raped. (I think 5 or 4). Sad fact is that the men who did it never got identified because women were completely unconscious. Rape does happen in Oman like any other country. The thing I don’t understand is that where do you guys get the notion that Omanis think themselves better than other countries in terms of crime?? We Omanis know that shit happens everywhere and take precautions to guard ourselves and I urge you expats to do same.


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