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ISF announces 22 percent reduction in crime following security plan

The Internal Security Forces also point out that fines for breaches of the highway code rose by 56 percent during the plan's implementation period.

ISF announces 22 percent reduction in crime following security plan

Internal Security Forces officers in front of the Beirut courthouse. (Credit: Hassan Ammar/AFP)

The Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) welcomed the success of its road safety plan, which ran from May 6 to May 27, 2024, announcing “a drop in the crime rate.” The ISF made particular mention of “protecting citizens against armed robbery, snatchings, particularly using motorcycles.”

In figures released on Saturday, the ISF reported a 22 percent reduction in crimes – car thefts, snatchings and all other types of theft, homicides – during this period. At the same time, arrests of criminal suspects rose by 36 percent.

The ISF also points out that fines for breaches of the highway code rose by 56 percent during the period covered by this plan, recognizing that “deaths resulting from road accidents had recently increased by 100 percent,” hence the urgency of these measures. The fines were mainly recorded in the central areas of Beirut, Baabda, the southern suburbs and Jdeideh (Mount Lebanon).

The text gives little indication of the future stages of this security plan, stating simply that “the ISF will continue to serve and protect citizens against anything that threatens their lives, property and peace of mind, despite all the difficulties the country is going through.” The statement laconically mentions “various campaigns, discontinuously and without warning, with a view to continuing to arrest delinquents and persons subject to arrest warrants.” Attempts to contact the institution for further details were unsuccessful.

'Largely insufficient'

Ziad Akl, President of YASA, an association specializing in road safety, was asked to comment on the number of fines issued for breaches of the highway code. “The Ministry of the Interior and the police are guilty of long-standing negligence in the field of road safety,” he told L'Orient-Le Jour. In his view, “reducing this complex issue to tickets is a calamity because these measures are only a tiny part of the solution.”

YASA, according to Ziad Akl, is demanding the full and sustained application of the Highway Code adopted in 2015 but never applied in its entirety. “It is unacceptable that no new driving licenses have been issued for two years now, and that driving tests have been suspended, depriving thousands of young people of this learning and this document,” he continued, noting “the failure of the Ministry and the Road Management Directorate to address this shortcoming.” For at least three years, thousands of young Lebanese have been driving around without a valid license, waiting for the famous commission responsible for examining candidates to be appointed by the Minister of the Interior.

Another point raised by the activist is the absence of mechanical inspection of vehicles, a system that was based on a contract between the state and a private company, suspended since May 2022 without an alternative. “This system worked for more than 20 years and needed to be updated and developed, but certainly not suspended without an alternative, which has a catastrophic impact on vehicle maintenance,” he criticized. He pointed out that the Lebanese rarely have their vehicles inspected if they don't have to. “In the absence of mandatory and/or voluntary inspections, we see tragedies such as the death of a teenage girl in a bus with a cracked floor” on May 29, he insisted.

“The Ministry of the Interior and the Road Management Directorate must be convinced of the need to apply the law in full, and in a sustainable way. We have serious questions about the sustainability of measures in the form of time-limited plans," he concluded.

This article originally appeared in French in L'Orient-Le Jour. 

The Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) welcomed the success of its road safety plan, which ran from May 6 to May 27, 2024, announcing “a drop in the crime rate.” The ISF made particular mention of “protecting citizens against armed robbery, snatchings, particularly using motorcycles.”In figures released on Saturday, the ISF reported a 22 percent reduction in crimes...