Theft Incidents Increase Remarkably in Lebanon

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Theft Incidents Increase Remarkably in Lebanon

"Such incidents have seen a remarkable increase because thieves are aware today that people are storing big amounts of cash money in their houses due to their lack of confidence in the banking sector," Pierre Khoury said.

Lebanon has witnessed in the past few months a shortage in U.S. dollar caused by economic slowdown and the drop in cash injections from Lebanese abroad.

Banks have imposed restrictions on the withdrawals of depositors and the conversion of the Lebanese pound to the U.S. dollar, creating great panic among people about the future of their savings.

People started to stand in lines at banks in Lebanon to withdraw small amounts of their deposits day after day while others predicted that a crisis was about to begin so they bought gold or stored big amounts of cash in their houses.

News about theft incidents circulated every day in different media outlets covering different regions of the country.

On Sunday, an armed thief broke into the house of renowned Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram but the artist's husband succeeded in shooting the burglar to defend his family.

Lebanon's state security arrested a burglar who stole 100 million Lebanese pounds (about 66,000 U.S. dollars) from a company in Choueifat, Mount of Lebanon in addition to arresting a thief who attempted to steal money from a supermarket in Bekaa.

"These incidents are not a result of poverty. These are organized crimes because burglars are aiming for rich people and they are well aware that people are storing their money and valuable belongings in their houses," the expert said.

Khoury explained that theft incidents caused by poverty are expected to happen soon and they are different because they will take place in the streets in front of everybody.

The World Bank estimates poverty rate to stand at 30 percent in Lebanon but it is expected to go up to 50 percent if the economy deteriorates completely.

"I expect poverty to even increase to 80 percent because people cannot withdraw any of their money from banks, and this money is not secure anymore so they are counting on their monthly income and their spending has to be limited to a few dollars daily," Khoury explained.

Also, unemployment has increased remarkably in the past two months in Lebanon due to the nationwide protests that have started on Oct. 17.

Economists have on many occasions warned officials about an imminent social crisis if they fail to deal with the economic and financial issues in the country.

However, Lebanese officials were so far incapable of reaching a deal to form a government capable of dealing with Lebanon's different crises and save the country from further deterioration.

Source: China Xinhua News