MANILA – The restricted movement of people and heightened law enforcement operations resulted in a 61-percent decline in the country’s crime rate during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
“Actually, logical din ang pagbaba dahil minimal ang economic activity at kokonti ang nasa labas (the decrease is logical due to minimal economic activity and fewer people outside their homes). The reduced crime incidents can be attributed to the intensified law enforcement operations to keep criminals at bay while the enhanced quarantine is being observed,” Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a text message late Friday.
His remarks came after data from the PNP showed that only 2,676 crimes were reported nationwide from March 17 to April 30.
This translates to a 61-percent drop from the 6,712 crimes reported from February 1 to March 16.
The data covered the eight focus crimes of murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, car theft, and motorcycle theft.
The crime rate in Luzon declined by 66 percent from 3,614 on February 1 to March 16 to 1,212 from March 17 to April 30, while the Visayas registered a 58-percent decrease from 1,722 to 730, and Mindanao posted a 50-percent drop from 1,376 to 684 over the same period.
“There will be no let-up in anti-crime operations as the local government units and law enforcement agencies must continue to work closely in encouraging the public to stay inside their residences to defeat both crimes and the pandemic crisis,” he added.
Eleazar, also the commander of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield), reported that as of Thursday, 154,781 violators of the ECQ had been arrested, fined, and warned.
Luzon posted the highest number of violators with 98,110, followed by Mindanao with 28,884, and the Visayas with 27,787.
Police also nabbed 798 individuals allegedly engaged in hoarding and profiteering while 10,287 public transport vehicles were caught violating the ban on mass transportation.
Eleazar said most of those who were recently warned were minors and senior citizens.
The rest were people who were allowed to go for humanitarian consideration, especially during the early days of the ECQ implementation.
He said police commanders have already been instructed to coordinate with local government units, especially with barangay officials, on imposing possible sanctions on the parents of minors who would violate the home quarantine.
The JTF CV Shield earlier noted a significant decline in the number of violators following the deployment of Special Action Force commandos, Highway Patrol Group personnel, and soldiers on board armored personnel carriers in areas where violations of home quarantine are prevalent.
PNP Chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, earlier reported a significant decrease in the number of violators in the past 45 days since the ECQ was implemented on March 17, especially during the period of the first extension in the third and fourth weeks of April.
The JTF CV Shield, the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, consists of the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fire Protection. (IA/PNA)