Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crime in Syria - on the rise in face of economic downturn

Syria is well-known for its safety, and its citizens are quick to tell you that crime (even in Damascus) is relatively unknown. The occasional reports of assaults on women using public transportation probably belies a larger problem that goes unreported or gets downplayed by local authorities. But now it seems that crime is increasing in earnest in the country's northern industrial center: Aleppo. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has an article here that links the rise in violence to the economic downturn, particularly damaging in Aleppo where many industries have been shuttered because of the government's dismantling of trade protection in recent years. This has probably been exacerbated by the rise in consumerism brought on by the blossoming of the luxury goods market serving the country's upper class. The simultaneous decay in industrial production unique to the northern region and the rise in conspicuous consumption that has spread from Damascus will most likely continue to spark an increase in crime in a country that prides itself on personal safety.

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