March 12, 2008

Dealing with Police officers in Jordan

Photo by Emad Salameh

I thought I am an attrcative person, but, today it was proved, but I shouldn't be happy about it. It came from a police officer who stopped me, just me, nobody else. The only person who was walking in the street going from Work to Home. I enjoy walking but each time I walk from work to home I suffer from many problems due to the undeveloped pedestrian or the noise that comes from the cars, etc.. Today it was different.
I first saw the Police car standing at the side of a corner, who was actually causing a traffic problem, but thats another thing, however, I saw the car flashing then as I approached the car he stopped me and asked for my ID.
I was surprised and I asked why?
The officer answered: we would like to know you?
I answered: Stopping me in the middle of my walk infront of all these cars just to know me?
The officer: where are you from?
I replied: Jordan, where else, I am on my way to home, enjoying my walk and the city.
He answered: Don't you have a car?
I answered: yes, I do, but I love walking, whats the problem did you guys start catching who walks?
I started complaiming and then another officer approached me and I told him: Whats wrong, is there anything?
The other officer replied, the same sentence: no we just wanna know you?
Then he gave me my ID back and said you can go now.

Thats strange, I lived in the US for 4 years and during my stay in NYC I never been asked to present my ID or stopped by any police officer. Even it's NYC, the city of 9/11 and my look and accent is Arabic, but, when I come here to my own country, they stop me and ask for my ID?

A week ago I was followed by a police car and they stopped me and asked for my ID and they took my camera. They said someone saw me taking some photos and they followed me. The officer said:" why are you taking pictuers? are you planning for some explosions in Amman?"

I said what are you talking about.

He took my ID and wanted to arrest me, but I told him to look at my camera and see if I took anything suspicious. The other officer, who was with a higher rank, started to ask me some questions and I showed him the pictuers.

After some talk, they let me go....

Again, in NYC, the city of 9/11 I took thousands of pictuers of buildings, people, interiors, and I never been asked to present my ID, never.
In a previous post I mentioned how I love seeing a police officer. They give order, and make you feel secure, they represent the government on the ground, thats only if they are effective and not just standing there.

I know I am pissed. Do I have the right to have this feeling? or Shall I stop walking? or taking pictuers? Or just Shut up!

Related Posts:

Mechanisms to reduce traffic accidents

Police Security Department

Toward improving the transportation system and decreasing car emission

Education and Economy in Jordan reform

The new Traffic law


Madi said...

maybe this is why crime rates in Jordan are almost zero compared to the states?

I don't mind being stopped, checked and scanned as long as the patrol are doing it politely.

Anonymous said...

jad, it's nice to defend jordan's low crime rate, but for all the right reasons and based on neutral data. how does asking for an ID stop crime? where in the world did you read that checking pedestrian IDs has reduced crimes? Do you think a criminal who spots a police car will go out of his way to walk near it? And where did you read that Jordan has low crime rate? compared to US most countries have low crime rate, including most who don't stop people at random to check for IDs. That's what police states do.

But I do suggest to everyone that you do not argue with the Jordanian police. Recently, people have been "suicided" or killed in their cars by multiple gun shots fired by the Jordanian police "in the air."

The security situation in jordan is getting out of control and most of the violence is state-inflicted. Keep a low profile and go along.

truly, common sense is not common.

Madi said...

Because I don't take anything for granted, I never believe what I read but instead I use the ball over my shoulders to process data and compile results.

Of course, check points and random ID Check should clean the streets up, many "zu3ran" are afraid of going out because of this ID check and many criminals too.

and by the way, they do the ID check thingy wherever you are, I mean you could be in the court and someone will come by asking for your ID.

It is their right, they are getting paid to do that, they are getting paid to keep you safe, they are doing it so you can enjoy walking in any street in Amman at any time without being afraid.

I'm not defending the low crime rate but I'm proud of it; I can go walking or cycling in Amman at any time without having to worry about a thing.
Because of their hard work, teenagers can stay up late enjoying night life without being afraid again.

Arguing with anyone in duty isn't smart thing to do; even in the US, would you argue with a police officer? can you explain what would happen if s/he asked to put your hands up and you don't just because you want to argue?

Amman Voice said...

Is this true? I would like to see the accurate satistics of crime in Jordan, not the "marketed" data, however you can't compare it with a metropolitan or a democratic countries.

This is debatable. They have more laws and discipline than you can ever see here and if you compare what's a crime and whats not you will find many offenses and crimes in this country.

It's just enough to see every day 10's of fights in the streets, or a parent hits his wife or a child or a harrasements of the guys for a women.

They have more numbers since everything is documented and open to the public.

Madi said...

I totally agree that Jordanian authorities are not open about crimes statistics as in other countries but that doesn't mean we have loads of crimes.

Lets do it in a simple way, Can you tell us how many of your family members were/have/witnessed a rape, murder, theft, rubbery?

Ok, not your family, your friends? your friends of friends?
and here I'm not asking about rumours but facts.

Amman Voice said...

I've been rubbed many times here.

I have 3 incidents that my car being rubbed stealing my Radio and one time the whole car were stolen.

I have a friend being rubbed 2 months ago. They stole 3000 JD from her office.

My house were rubbed, but he couldnt steal anything being trapped in the balcony, that was 3 years ago.

A few years ago. My neigbours whole house were rubbed, they took all the furniture.

A furnished apartment that my family own were rubbed also and they took about 200 JD from the apartment.

This is what I rememberm and it's my own list!

Madi said...

This is weird, I mean if I were you, I'd immigrate to Kongo!
I was rubbed only once in my life and in Aqaba my homeland hehe.

Anonymous said...

Criminality level in Jordan and in a lot of poor countries is even higher than the criminality level in USA or Europe, the difference is that when a man is killed in Rome or Paris they talk about it in tv, they try to know what happened,etc, so people "feel" that the criminality level is high, while in Amman when a man is killed they don't even talk about it in local tv and you find it in a small corner in the local newspapers. This is the real difference dear Jad...
By the way, i live in Naples and it's considered the italian city with the highest criminality rate, never been rubbed in 10 years!

Anonymous said...

JAD: "This is weird, I mean if I were you, I'd immigrate to Kongo!"

what a nice guy. jad is the quintessential jordanian chest beating airhead. If I am rich, all jordanians are rich. if i am safe, all Jordanians are safe.

i lost count of how many crimes i have seen or heard just last year alone in my area.

Ali Dahmash said...

Well, we still live in a Police state in Jordan and they all try to cover it up with having police in the streets to organise the traffic, which they never do since I work on the 7th circle. I believe Police officers in Jordan have a strong ego and a huge attitude problem, they always try to prove that they have higher authority than the normal citizen and to always remind you, they are still there, observing all yoru actions. Now if they only do their jobs, our country will be a better place

Anonymous said...

This must have been a real unpleasant experience! The ironic bit is, like you mentioned, is that in countries like the US and the UK, no one would care to ask for an ID card. In fact, in the UK, they don’t even have ID cards, despite consistent pressure from the government to issue ID cards for all citizens. Lucky for them, some human rights activists refuse to believe in ID cards, because it implies treating people like cattle with numbers stamped on the forehead! I say this, but I feel sorry for the Jordanian police as well. Years of depression, frustration and lack of motivation, only raise symptoms of ill-behaviour towards the others in the name of authority!!

Amman Voice said...

I feel the same Sonia for our citizens.