By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras
CRIME VOLUME nationwide decreased by 3.3% or 3,963 incidents to 115,539 in the first quarter compared with 119,502 in the first quarter of last year, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP Spokesperson Col. Bernard M. Banac said the decrease can be attributed to the police’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Ma-attribute natin ito sa intensified campaign on illegal drugs. Ayun pa rin talaga (We can attribute this to our intensified campaign on illegal drugs. it’s still that, really),” Mr. Banac said in an interview on Friday.
He added: “Because of the intensified campaign on illegal drugs, (the) effect (on) criminals is to stay away from committing crimes….Kapag under the influence of illegal drugs, may tendency talaga na gumawa ng krimen (there is a tendency to commit crime). Dahil na-reduce natin ‘yung paggamit ng droga (Because we have reduced the use of drugs) from the public, ‘yung commission of crime, bumaba din (the commission of crime also went down).”
Mr. Banac also pointed out, “Hindi maiwasan ng tao na mag-commit ng crime dahil gusto lang niya mag-survive, mabuhay, kumain.” (People cannot avoid committing crime in order to survive, live, and eat).
The PNP cited the decrease in index crimes to 16,235 this year, from 22,100 in the first quarter of 2018. Index crimes pertain to murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, and crimes against property (robbery, theft, carjacking, and cattle rusting).
Theft still registered the highest among index crimes with 5,039; followed by physical injury, 4,447; and robbery, 2,273.
Last February, the PNP recorded a total of 473,068 crimes in 2018. The figure was 9.13% lower compared with 520,641 crimes in 2017.
Sought for comment, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said: “Poor people resort to drugs to sell and get income. Poor people also resort to drugs to seek pleasure and be callous in selling and using illegal drugs. Poor people turn to illegal drugs both to get income and pleasure because of rising unemployment in the country.”
Security analyst and former Federal Bureau of Investigation officer Stephen P. Cutler said in a phone message when sought for comment on Saturday: “Studies in other countries indicate that reducing drug use and addiction has a positive impact on other crimes. As drug demand is reduced so are the crimes that are committed to get the money needed to support addictions and drug use.”
University of Santo Tomas political science professor Marlon M. Villarin said: “President Duterte’s war on drugs may not be the ideal approach in curving/addressing criminality in our country but somehow capable of providing practical short term solutions, of you look at the data, most criminal cases filed/ reported to PNP concern street crimes and domestic violence and most of these cases involved drug addiction. Consistent with popular surveys and plain folks experiences, war on drugs provided a community a practical at accessible solutions to community threat.”
Mr. Cutler said the PNP should improve its computer statistics or COMPSTAT crime management tool: “The PNP is trying to follow the New York City Police model of “COMPSTAT” which is data driven planning and deployment of resources. That is wise, but needs deepening and expanding. In addition, PNP would greatly impact organized crime groups that are deeply involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, stolen vehicle trafficking and other such criminal acts by a strengthened and broadened use of computerized analysis of data. This is along the ideas used by businesses known as ‘big data analysis.’”
Mr. Villarin said: “They have to strengthen not only with their punitive approach to the war on drugs but also strengthen their preventive approach, with the help of the religious and other socio civic org they can do advocacy program that will educationally and socially cut significantly demand and supply of illegal drugs.”
He added, “War on drugs should not focus more on punitive alone but more importantly the preventive approach.”
Mr. Banac said that more equipment and training, including seminar on human rights, will improve PNP’s services: “We need more equipment to modernize our investigation capabilities and we will continue our training pagdating sa investigation and sa operations. Maging ‘yung training on human rights (As well as training on human rights). ‘Yung awareness namin sa mga police on respecting human rights, the value of life, protecting the rights of the public and the suspect lalo pa namin palalakasin to lessen ‘yung incidence ng pagkakamali.” (We will strengthen our awareness campaign to our policemen regarding respecting human rights, the value of life, protecting rights of the public and the suspect in order to avoid committing mistakes during operations).