Crime is down, but rape cases up

The good news is that crime rate in the summer capital has substantially decreased. The bad news is that the number of rape cases is in uptick.

According to the report of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), there were 2,966 crimes committed from January to October this year, 48% lower than the same time period in 2016 which saw 5,857 crimes. Crime index is also lower by 70% at 645 cases compared to 2,159 for the same period last year.

Rape cases for this quarter, however, increased by 15% which is equivalent to five cases.

These figures were presented by Police Superintendent Ramil Saculles in the 4th Quarter City Human Rights, Justice, Peace and Order Council (CHRJPOC) meeting on Thursday.

The police recorded the highest incidence of rape between April and July, coinciding with the start and end of classes respectively. Most of the victims were between the age of 15 and 18 with the youngest being a three-year old. Most of them were assaulted between ten in the evening and four in the morning while either they or the perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol.

There were 83 minors involved in theft and robbery, usually by shop-lifting, pick-pocketing, and so-called “salisi” activities. Meanwhile, there were 41 minors who committed physical injury. Saculles noted that most of these crimes were committed in the Central Business District outside the 7PM – 5AM curfew, which he said indicated the lack of enforcement in the barangays.

“I told barangay officials to enforce curfew in their barangays,” Saculles said. “I don’t know if there is a need to review the ordinance. Maybe we should give incentive to barangays to enforce curfew,” he added.

The police aired issues and concerns on crime prevention strategies it is considering to adopt.

The strategies include raising the penalty on traffic violations, prohibiting a male tandem riding on motorcycles, revisiting, redesigning or reprogramming the operations of traffic lights, implementing earlier closure time of dart halls, billiard halls, and internet shops, giving guidelines on 24-hour tourist accredited hotels and restaurants, and the issuance of penalty waiver on non-government sponsored activities.

The police also sought legal opinion on the idea of including provisions to prohibit the sale of liquor in 24-hour shops, particularly in 7-Eleven stores.

City prosecutor Elmer Sagsago said that the ordinance prohibiting the selling of alcohol for 24 hours may technically be applied. “You may operate for 24 hours but you cannot sell alcohol for 24 hours,” he said. - Iryll Sicnao