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Pandemic major key in reduced crime volume in 2020 — Sinas

THE ‘new normal’ triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced majority of Filipinos to stay home and observe minimum health protocols imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was a key factor in the significant reduction of the country’s Total Crime Volume or TCV in 2020, Philippine National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas told the Journal Group.

Mamang PulisAccording to the top cop, the country’s TCV last year significantly went down compared to the 2019 figures as Filipinos adopted to the ‘new normal’ and observed quarantine-related protocols specifically curfew hours and the ban on drinking in public which was strictly enforced by the police.

The PNP also noted a major reduction in all eight Focus Crimes last year compared to the records in 2019 and credited it to the limited movement of the public including the ‘stay-at-home’ policy and ‘work-from-home setup as well as the changed behavior of Filipinos.

Sinas also credited the strict implementation of curfew hours which prevented many specifically criminals from leaving their homes; the use of intensified checkpoints, patrols and other interventions during the community quarantine by the police force with the help of other law enforcement agencies and local government units and the implementation of their Enhanced Managing Police Operations which is already a continuing police program.

Official records from the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management headed by Major Gen. Marni C. Marcos Jr. showed that there were a total of 41,475 Index Crimes recorded from January 1 to December 31, 2020 compared to the 68,431 recorded in 2019 or a 39.39 percent reduction in serious crimes including homicide, murder, robbery, theft, physical injuries, rape and motorcycle and vehicle theft.

On the other hand, the PNP recorded a total of 195,897 Non-Index Crimes last year compared to the 193,134 cases in 2019 or a 1.43 percent increase.

Marcos said that the rise in non-index crimes is primarily due to the occurrence of quarantine-related violations and the intensified campaign against illegal drugs launched by the PNP.

According to the official, the number of cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 recorded in 2020 constitutes 77 percent of Special Law violations followed by the number of quarantine-related violations including assault against persons of authority.

He said that the most common quarantine violations on border checkpoints and patrols are violation of Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code or direct assault, Article 151 of the RPC or resistance and disobedience to persons in authority; and violation of Republic Act 11132 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern; and violation of RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Marcos said the increase of incidents from March to April 2020 is mainly due to the increase in Non-Index Crimes particularly the upsurge of quarantine-related violations.

PNP-DIDM records showed the comparative figures on the Eight Focused Crimes in 2020 and 2019: There were a total of 6,319 murder cases in 2019 compared to the 5,484 in 2020 or a 13.21 percent reduction; there were a total of 1,793 homicide cases in 2019 compared to the 1,334 last year or a 25.60 percent reduction;

There were a total of 12,663 cases of physical injuries in 2019 compared to the 7,963 recorded cases in the past year or a 42.02 percent reduction; there were a total of 9,915 rape cases in 2019 compared to the 7,963 incidents recorded in 2020 or a 19.69 percent reduction.

On the other hand, in 2010, the PNP recorded a total of 9,967 robbery incidents compared to the 5,144 cases last year or a 48.39 percent reduction; 23,097 cases of theft in 2019 compared to the 11,593 incidents in 2020 or a 49.81 percent reduction; 419 cases of motor vehicle theft compared to the 272 incidents in 2020 or a 47.36 percent reduction; and 4,041 cases of motorcycle theft compared to the 2,127 incidents last year or a 39.51 percent reduction.

The PNP also registered a 95.15 Crime Clearance Efficiency in 2020 compared to its 91.72 percent CCE in 2019 or a 3.47 percent increase. On the other hand, the organization registered a 79.74 percent Crime Solution Efficiency last year compared to the 76.36 percent CCE in 2019 or a 3.37 percent increase.

He attributed the increase in the PNP’s CCE and CSE to their improved techniques in identifying suspects and the constant monitoring and follow-up of cases by investigators despite the challenges posed by the killer virus.

Marcos also cited the continuous implementation of the Next Generation of Investigation System or NGIS which had also influenced the improvement of their CCE and CSE last year.

Marcos said that theft has the largest decrease among the eight Focus Crimes with almost 50 percent incident decrease last year. He added that the monthly trend of eight Focus Crimes in 2020 is also significantly lower compared to the 2019 figures.

The official explained that they also registered a significant drop in robbery, theft and carnapping during the first four months of 2020 or during the height of the Enhanced Community Quarantine triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic which generally stopped or limited the movement of people.

However, he said that as quarantine restrictions loosened up in the following months, the eight Focus Crime incidents slowly went up but not as high as those recorded at the start of the year.

“In general, it can be construed that all of the eight Focus Crimes went down last year compared to the figures in 2019,” Marcos said.

According to the official, Sinas has ordered the further improvement of their CCE and CSE thru the continuous monitoring and follow-up of cases by investigators, the creation of Special Investigation Task Groups to work on heinous and sensational crimes and more training of police investigators.