The country of Jordan is located in the Middle East region of the world and lies at 31 00 degrees north longitude and 36 00 degrees latitude. Jordan is located just north of Saudi Arabia and is also bordered by the countries of Iraq, Israel, Syria, and West Bank. On a more common scale, Jordan is just a tad smaller then the more known country of India with 89, 213 total square miles, also having a 26-mile coastline. The land of the country is mostly dry desert climate in the east, with more of a highland area towards the western parts.
The estimated population of Jordan as of July of the year 2000 was a total of 4,998,564 people, with 38% of the people under 14 years, 59% of the people between 15 and 64 years, and only 3% of the population over sixty- five years old. Overall these figures give the country an average population growth of roughly 3.1% per year with a birth rate of 26.24 births per 1,000 people, and a death rate of 2.63 deaths per 1,000 people. Of the entire population, 98% of the Jordanians are Arab, while only 2% of the population consists of Circassions and Armenians. Arabic is the obvious language of the country, and the major religion of Jordan is Sunni Muslim, which is practiced by 96% of the population. The other 4% of Jordanian religion is Christian, which to me is quite shocking considering the fact that the Holy Lands are so close including the major holy city of Jerusalem.
With a very inadequate supply of water and oil, Jordan’s economy is obviously suffering, and the Persian Gulf crisis in August of 1990 only added fuel to the fire. During the crisis, many refugees flooded the country, which ultimately ended up straining major government resources. Even with the government struggling to provide support for its people, the poverty line in Jordan draws somewhere in the range of 30%, which is not that bad considering the factors mentioned above. The labor force in Jordan is also surprisingly strong with 1.15 million people. The major industries in Jordan are phosphate mining, petroleum mining, cement production, and with such beautiful scenery, who could forget tourism. The inflation rate annually is around 3%, and 1 U.S. dollar is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 70.9 cents in Jordan.
As far as politics go, Jordan is very similar to the United States. Like the U.S., the government is divided into three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The leader of the executive branch which is known as the Jordanian Monarch, or chief executive has the same rights of the president of the United States. The Legislature is made up of a house of representatives with 141 members, and a Senate made up of 40 members, which are appointed to office by the Jordanian Monarch. The Judicial system is a bit different in Jordan because there are two court systems: Civil and Religious. Lower magistrate courts are used to settle small claims, and more serious cases and appeals are sent to the Jordanian Supreme Court, which is known as the Court of Cassation. Religious courts in Jordan settle on issues dealing with marriage, divorce, and wills.
The Jordan Police also have many similarities to the policing used here in the United States. The average police department in Jordan is divided into several different areas, which include investigations, operations and patrol, planning and organization, personnel, civil guards, and also border guards. One thing that I found very interesting during my research was that Jordan, and other Middle East countries including Israel have some of the best scientists and equipment in the world when it comes to the area of forensics. The police force in Jordan mainly focuses on the so -called serious criminal, and tries to crack down with the use of very strong preventive policing.
Though the police are very tough on criminal acts and suspected criminal acts, the Jordanian Constitution still gives the people the rights to freedom of speech, press, association, academics, political parties, religion, and a right to vote. The typical Jordanian police department is basically the same set up as here in the United States with ranking of officers and daily duties and routines. However, since Jordan is in the Middle East where a lot of terrorist activity goes on, special task forces are assigned to deal with terrorism. Terrorism is a very serious problem, and that is obviously why such serious attention is granted towards it.
Even though Jordan is located in the Middle East where a lot of world problems exist as far as terrorism and random acts of violence occur, Jordan surprisingly has a phenomenally low crime rate. The following chart lists Jordan’s crime rates versus crime rates of the United States and Sweden.
Number of Crimes per 100,000 Citizens Category U.S.A. Sweden Jordan Total Offenses 5374.4 12,620.3 897.5 Murder 8.9 9.5 6.9 Rape 39.2 20.6 0.9 Theft (all kinds) 4896.1 7410.5 160.4 Violent Theft 237.7 60.5 1.1 Auto Theft 591.2 616.1 15.7 Drug Offenses No Data 358.48 6.7 Source: International Crime Statistics. International Criminal Police Association (INTERPOL), Lyon, France, 1994.
The main reason behind such a low crime rate is the quality use of preventive policing, and also providing young people with good educations and offering many programs for teens to keep them out of trouble.
As you can see, Jordanian law enforcement is quite similar to that of the United States except for the fact that here in the United States we gear more towards the area of community orientated policing while in Jordan more extreme measures of preventive policing are used. Many would say that because of Jordan’s low crime rate, the United States should switch back to a more preventive approach, but people have to remember that these are two very different cultures, and by switching back to preventive policing it would only make things worse here in America.
In conclusion, I was very surprised to learn that Jordan actually seems like a decent place to live even though its location in the world and resources are not that great. It seems that Jordan’s name is always brought up in these Middle East crisis just because it is located in between where everything is going on. More than 99% of the time Jordan never has anything to do with the wrong doings of the Middle East. The police departments are effective for the simple fact that they do not joke around.
The punishments are indeed harsh, but they obviously make a good point because the crime rate is very low. I feel bad for the people of Jordan because they seem to be good people, but unfortunately always stuck in the middle of many ongoing crisis, including right now with the fighting going on between Israel and Palestine. Jordan is not a typical stereotyped Middle East country, it is a hard working country with a great police force that gets good results in the long run.
1. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2000 version.
2. www.kinghussein.gov.jo/ 3. Constitution of Jordan 4. www.odci.com 5. www.policeguide.com