iranwire.com – Petty crime rates have increased in many parts of Iran in line with rising unemployment and poverty, especially since the outbreak of coronavirus. While the government has yet to take any meaningful action to prevent more families from sliding into hardship, police and the Revolutionary Guards have adopted an enforcement-based approach.
Over the summer, the Iranian Armed Forces-linked journal National Security Quarterly published a study entitled Investigating the Relationship between Vulnerable Urban Spaces and Violent Behaviors in Tehran. This article identified 124 locations in the capital that are worst-hit by four types of street crime: robbery, harassment, bag snatches and affray.
According to police documents reviewed for the study, the highest number of robberies were reported in Vahidiyeh Street, Valiasr Junction, a single 20-meter stretch of Afsariyeh Street and the southern end of Sabalan Street. By contrast, bag-snatches were rife at Nezamabad junction, under the Seyed Khandan bridge, Shariati Street and Shoush Square.
The same report declared Imam Hossein Square, Abouzar Square and Azadi Square the city’s biggest hotspots for violent altercations and affray, while harassment was reportedly the most rife in Molavi Street, 1st Tehran Pars Square, Jashnvareh Drive and Andarzgoo Boulevard.
Most of the crime hotspots had features in common such as a lack of law enforcement agents, parks or playgrounds, and the presence of taxi ranks. The authors of the study noted that petty crime was most likely to occur in “dilapidated buildings, areas with limited visual acuity, sites with poor communication with adjacent spaces, areas where lots of nooks and crannies exist, and where there is a lack of light”.
The scholars then compiled a list of the physical and social characteristics of Tehran’s most vulnerable spaces and locations where crime had occurred. They then assessed which characteristics were most likely to lead to which type of street crime flourishing there. The full findings are summarized in the table below.