The use of alcohol negatively affects all aspects of a person’s life, the impact on family can be particularly catastrophic. Alcoholism also has adverse effects on a person’s relationship with his/her friends, community, and on the society at large. One of the most significant areas of risk with the use of alcohol is the connection between alcohol and crime.
Alcohol and other addictive substances are found to the reasons or triggers in a majority of crimes that get people incarcerated or penalized across the world. Crimes such as domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, property offenses, and public-order offenses are some of the common crimes that have a direct or a circumstantial link with the consumption of alcohol.
Consumption of alcohol is heavily regulated in Qatar. As many as five articles (270-273, 277) of the Qatar Penal Code directly deal with alcohol regulation within the country. The penal code mandates penalties in the form of imprisonment and fines for alcohol consumption, trade and other associated crimes. The maximum imprisonment term mandated by the law in cases where alcohol is involved is 3 years and the upper limit of the fines set for alcohol related crimes is set at QR10000.
The crime rates in Qatar according to Government authorities are low compared to the rest of the region and stands at 5.0 per 100, 000 which is lower than the world average of 8.0. Furthermore, the national murder rate in Qatar is 0.5 per 100, 000 residents which is way lower than the global rate of 4 per the same number of people. The levels of violent crime are similarly low and the occurring of such crimes is very rare.
The Government keeps a close vigil on the crime statistics and accordingly adjusts its strategy to deal with the trends. Over the years Qatar has vastly enhanced its capacities to identify, deter and neutralize crimes by inculcating the latest technologies in its security apparatus, but the relation between the alcohol prohibition and the low crimes rates in the country cannot be ignored.
Consumption of alcohol plays a particularly strong role in the occurrence of crimes and other social problems. Alcohol is a factor in an overwhelming majority of all violent crimes committed across the world. According to the United States, Department of Justice, 37% of almost 2 million convicted offenders currently incarcerated in the country, report that they were drinking at the time of their arrest.
Alcohol, more than any illegal drug, is found to be closely associated with violent crimes, including murder, rape, assault, child and domestic violence. Among violent crimes, with the exception of robberies, perpetrators are far more likely to have under the influence of alcohol than under the influence of other drugs or narcotic substances.
The regulation and prohibition of alcohol in Qatar prevents the occurrence of the following types of crimes in the country:
Crimes due to consumption: The crimes that result from or involve individuals who consume alcohol, and then go on to commit crimes due to the effect alcohol has on their thought processes and behavior e.g. public indecency, public nuisance etc.
Crimes due to addition: The crimes that an individual commits so that he or she can fund his/her alcohol addiction or alcoholism problem. Such crimes include theft, pick-pocketing, conning and begging.
Since consumption of alcohol is largely illegal in Qatar the occurrence of crimes such as drunk driving, bar fights, road-rage etc. is either negligible or largely absent, which makes the country safer as it brings the crime levels down substantially.
Furthermore, the occurrence of juvenile crimes due to alcohol consumption is unheard of in Qatar. Violence in colleges due to alcohol consumption is another headache that Qatar has immunised itself from unlike countries like USA where hundreds and thousands of students report being assaulted by students who had been drinking.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that the prohibition on alcohol in Qatar is a prudent policy and its benefits are visible in the low crime rates in the country.