Criminal incidents in the island province of Catanduanes rose by 82 percent in the first six months of the year, with the spike attributed to the hundreds of violators arrested during the quarantine period from March until May 2020.
Reporting on the criminality situation during the June 10, 2020 joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC), Police Provincial Director Col. Paul Abay said that the Peace and Order Index (POI), which presents the true picture of crime and peace and order situation in the community, increased to 619 incidents. This is an increase of 280 incidents from the 339 recorded last year.
He clarified that the number of criminal incidents is due to the numerous violations of the quarantine and curfew in various towns.
Records show that during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the local police arrested a total of 639 persons, with another 31 nabbed during the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
The surge in the criminal incidents, along with the closure of the various courts, also took the local police;s Crime Solution Efficiency (CSE) into a nosedive to just 25.04%, compared to last year’s 82.01%, while its Crime Clearance Efficiency (CCE) also fell to 49.60%
For a case to be considered “cleared,” the police must have filed a case in court with at least one suspect identified, with none arrested. A “solved” case means a case has been filed in court and at least one suspect has been arrested.
Col. Abay explained that the closure of the municipal and regional trial courts during the ECQ and GCQ meant the police could not file the cases with said courts, resulting in the very low crime clearance and solution statistics.
Without the quarantine violations, the number of index crime incidents actually decreased by 23 percent during the January-June period from 63 in 2019 to just 40 in 2020, he said.
Index crimes include murder, homicide, serious and less serious physical injuries, carnapping/motornapping, robbery, theft, rape, and special complex crimes.
For the said period this year, the Catanduanes police recorded three (3) murders, three (3) homicides, six (6) physical injuries, and five (5) rapes, with the latter crime falling by 74 percent from 19 during the same period last year..
However, crimes against property slightly increased by two cases to 22 this year, which PD Abay stated could be due to the lack of jobs during the lockdown. There were six robberies and 16 theft incidents, as well as one “motornapping” during the first half of 2020.
Public safety improved considerably during the same period as the number of vehicular accidents sharply decreased by 51 percent from 126 in 2019 to just 61 this year.
Compared to the same period last year when five fatalities were recorded, there were no homicides due to vehicular mishaps in 2020, with 38 of the incidents resulting to physical injury and the other 23 damaging property.
This prompted the police director to publicly wish the quarantine would be extended as the limited movement of people greatly reduced the number of traffic accidents.
For the same period, the Catanduanes police launched 12 anti-drug operations, leading to 12 arrests, confiscation of 188 grams plus another 20 sachets of shabu and the filing of 15 criminal cases in court.
In the campaign against illegal gambling, 56 persons were apprehended in 25 operations, with a total of P6,901 in bet money seized.
Forty-four illegal fishermen were collared in 15 operations with the police confiscating seven motorized bancas, four compressors and 382 kilos of fish.
In the drive against illegal logging, 30 persons were arrested, with the police seizing two chainsaws a total of 5,240 board feet of illegally-cut lumber worth P227,025.
A total of 45 firearms were either surrendered, recovered or confiscated in the campaign against loose firearms during the period, with 76 wanted persons, including one provincial MWP, arrested in the same six months.
In the drug clearing operations, Viga and San Miguel have remained as the only drug-cleared towns, PD Abay reported.
The number of affected barangays considered as drug-cleared as follows: Bagamanoc, 12 out of 13 affected; Baras, 10 of 21; Bato, 11 of 17; Caramoran, 5 of 21; Gigmoto, 7 of 9; Pandan, 6 of 18; Panganiban, 10 of 21; San Andres, 10 of 31; San Miguel, 18 of 18; Viga, 23 of 23; and, Virac, 12 of 48.