By Dana Al Emam – Feb 25,2016

AMMAN — A gas station worker in Balqa Governorate was stabbed to death earlier this month because he asked the motorist to put out a cigarette.

Some two years ago, young man shot a minivan driver to death near a busy circle in Amman over a fierce argument on the right of way.

These two incidents are examples of several others that left people killed over “ridiculous or stupid reasons”, according to experts, who told The Jordan Times that some crimes in the Kingdom start as arguments or disputes before developing into murders.

The experts blamed stress exacerbated by the increase in population for most of the violence incidents reported in the Kingdom.

University of Jordan sociology Professor Majd Adeen Khamash said the Jordanian society has recently been witnessing clashes and fights over “unworthy” matters, such as fights over parking spaces or cleaning staircases in housing complexes, all of which can be solved through proper verbal communication.

“Residents of cities usually develop an adaptation mechanism to cope with that sort of tension,” he told The Jordan Times, adding that those who fail to do so are more likely to express rage when provoked by simple incidents.

Public Security Department (PSD) Spokesperson Lt. Col. Amer Sartawi said police stations across the country handle a lot of cases involving brawls on a daily basis, some of which are resolved in stations, while others are referred to courts, such as cases that involve killing.

He told The Jordan Times that the frequency of violent fights in the country are within normal ranges and are subject to “substantial” increase due to the growing population, which now stands at around 9.5 million.

Non-Jordanians represent around one-third of the Kingdom’s population, with their number estimated at 2.9 million, of whom 1.26 million are Syrians.

According to Department of Statistics, Jordan also hosts 636,270 Egyptians, 634,182 Palestinians, 130,911 Iraqis, 31,163 Yemenis, 22,700 Libyans and 197,385 from other nationalities.

Sartawi added that the spread of weapons among civilians over the past five or six years, is a matter that the PSD should address through campaigns and raids in order to arrest violators.

Commenting on this issue, Khamash called for the endorsement of a law that bans civilians from obtaining licensed or unlicensed weapons, since the PSD is capable of ensuring public safety.

He explained that preventive measures to curb societal violence, such as banning weapons, are more efficient than trying to fix the outcomes of such acts.

The Penal Code stipulates “suitable and sufficient punishments” that were amended several times to intensify penalties for new or emerging violations, such as violence against public employees on duty, said lawyer Fahed Kasasbeh.

But neither intensifying the punishment nor adding new articles to the law would decrease crime rates, said Kasasbeh, who is also a professor of criminal law at Amman Arab University, highlighting firmer law enforcement as the key contributor to combat crime.

He explained that long litigation periods, due to the limited number of judges and the rising number of cases, diminish the significance of the legal process and give violators the feeling that they could escape punishment.

Furthermore, Kasasbeh said that “atwa” (tribal agreement) functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until civic law decides on the case, highlighting the role of reconciliation in reducing the number of officially filed lawsuits.

Commenting on the use of firearms, he said moves to ban importing weapons are not likely to solve the problem as unlicensed weapons are already widely spread among civilians.
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