MORE Philippine National Police ‘Riders’ are currently being trained to help go after motorcycle-riding criminals specifically involved in gun-for-hire and robbery-holdup activities, PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan told the Journal Group yesterday.
Citing official PNP crime statistics, the top cop said there were a total of 1,324 street crimes attributed to 1,958 motorcycle-riding suspects from January 1 this year up to last October 16. The incidents include 424 murder, 24 homicide, 307 physical injury, 32 rape, 306 robbery, 100 carnapping, and 131 theft cases.
Cascolan said that although 400 of these cases have been solved and 362 other cases were cleared with the arrest of 308 suspects and the death of 21 others, “we are pursuing the arrest of 1,629 suspects who remain at-large and presumed to be still actively engaged in criminal activities.”
The PNP chief said that 90 units of 1,000cc motorcycles or ‘Big Bikes’ they recently procured will significantly enhance the PNP’s capability for high-speed tactical police response to street-crimes especially those perpetrated by these riding-in-tandem criminals.
“In response to the instructions of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to address the increasing crime incidents involving motorcycle-riding suspects, I have directed through a memorandum the increase of police visibility by adding more motorcycle patrols to our existing fleet and initiate refresher training to our mounted tactical responders,” he said.
The PNP chief said that all 17 Police Regional Offices ,in coordination with the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Alexander C. Tagum were instructed to initiate the conduct of training on Tactical Motorcycle-Riding and to organize Motorized Anti-Street Crime Operating Teams which will go after motorcycle-riding criminal elements.
He said that 178 policemen in Cordillera, Ilocos-Pangasinan and Caraga regions as well as the PNP Special Action Force are currently undergoing skills development training on tactical motorcycle-riding.
Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that incidents of killings and robbery-holdup involving Motorcycle-Riding Suspects or MRS have gone down by 57 percent over the past seven months of intensified security and health safety measures being implemented by the PNP.
The big reduction in the number of cases involving the so-called Riding-in-Tandem criminals comes in the wake of Gen. Cascolan’s order for the PNP-HPG to train as many policemen on motorcycle-riding as part of their anti-criminality measures as instructed by President Duterte.
According to Eleazar, there were a total of 784 cases of MRS-related criminal activities recorded during the past 220 days of the community quarantine period compared to the 1,864 cases recorded during the same period before the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and its other levels or a 57 percent reduction.
“In the past, motorcycle-riding criminals were a big peace and order headache. But we were able to counter their illegal activities in the past four years especially in the past seven months before the March 17 implementation of the first community quarantine wherein the daily average of MRS-related criminal activities was only eight nationwide,” said the Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander.
“Comes the community quarantine, the already-reduced MRS-related criminal activities further declined to a national daily average of four. So there was really a significant improvement not only on illegal activities of motorcycle-riding suspects but also the peace and order situation nationwide,” he added.
Based on PNP data, there was a 46 percent reduction in the Eight Focus Crimes during the 220-day community quarantine period (March 17, 2020 to October 22, 2020) compared to the same period before the community quarantine (August 10, 2019 to March 16, 2020).
The Eight Focus Crimes—Murder, Homicide, Physical Injury, Rape, Robbery, Theft, Carnapping of Motorcycles and Carnapping of Motor Vehicles—serves as the barometer of the peace and order situation in any area, and for the entire country as a whole.
Mindanao recorded the biggest decline in MRS-related criminal activities in the past 220 days with 63 percent or from 515 to 193 cases, followed by the Visayas region with 60 percent or from 485 to 189 cases, and Luzon with 53 percent or from 864 to 402 cases.
In Metro Manila, there was a 45 percent reduction of MRS-related criminal activities, or from 291 to 160 cases, Eleazar said.
For cases of murder and homicide involving motorcycle-riding suspects, the official said there were a 41 percent (from 505 to 300 cases) and 48 percent (from 25 to 13 cases) reduction, respectively. For robbery and theft cases, a decline was recorded at 76 percent (from 584 to 143 cases) and 74 percent (from 227 to 58 cases), respectively, he explained.
No upsurge in MRS cases
Eleazar, also the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, said the PNP data contradicts perception that there was an increase in MRS-related criminal activities.
“Napakalaki ng pagbaba sa krimen sa nakalipas na mahigit na pitong buwan kaya siguro nanibago ang ating mga kababayan matapos ang mga report tungkol sa motorcycle-riding criminals,” he said in in explaining the perception of increase in MRS-related cases.
“Also for more than seven months, these criminal elements were also forced to quarantine. But with the easing of restrictions and as more people were allowed to go out, they were given the opportunity again but these incidents are still low. However, we are not putting our guard down and we will continue to implement strategies to run after them and deny them the opportunity to strike,” he added.
Eleazar said the continuing security measures that were ordered by Cascolan especially on increased police visibility at the community level also led to the continuous reduction on carnapping of motorcycles which has a 62% reduction in the past 220 days.
Based on the PNP data, stolen motorcycles are usually being used in criminal activities.