In an attempt to calm public opinion, security forces have started deploying more police patrols, particularly near schools.
Some officials blame a rise in drug use for the crimes. Iraq’s Interior Ministry recently cited the cases in calling on Iraqis to support an anti-narcotics campaign. Al-Ibadi said all of those arrested in the two cases are addicts who were under the influence at the time of the crimes.
Fawzia A. al-Attia, a sociologist at Baghdad University, said Iraq’s decades of war and economic hardship also likely played a role.
‘‘All these woes changed the social value system, weakened the role of the family and negatively influenced personality development,’’ she said. ‘‘Young people in particular have started to feel the emptiness and boredom of unemployment, and (are increasingly disappointed) with religious and political institutions.’’
Many Basra residents see the focus on drugs as misplaced. They instead criticize Iraq’s government and security forces for failing to provide adequate security.
Abid said blaming his daughter’s killers’ actions on drugs is just a way for the authorities to justify poor policing, saying that all the security forces care ‘‘about is the salary they get at the end of the month.’’
Juhi reported from Baghdad.