Make criminals think twice

The PNP also observed that crimes committed during Marcos’ first 56 days were significantly lower compared to the start of the previous administrations of the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in 2010 and former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

Balladeer Jose Mari Chan’s appearance on memes and social media postings heralded this week the start of the “ber” months and that meant that the hyper-extended Christmas season in the Philippines has officially started. Shopping malls, fully operating for the first time since the pandemic locked society down in 2020 and 2021, are all decked in Yuletide trappings with their sound systems blaring Christmas carols.

Many restaurants have resumed offering full menus in place of their erstwhile bare-bones pandemic food selections. Notwithstanding rising prices of basic commodities, especially sugar which all things sweet must have plenty of, Filipinos are expected to go all-out in celebrating Christmas 2022 and in heralding the New Year. After all, 2023 holds so much promise that the new normal would not be too different, after all, compared to our pre-pandemic norms and existence.

Still, the normalization of people’s mobility, the return to in-person work and schooling, and the onset of the “ber” months can also mean another thing — that criminal elements would once again try to blend with ordinary folks to resume their “apple-picking” frenzy, committing crimes like robbery, theft, carnapping and carjacking, running away with motorcycles, and contract killing.

Traditionally, crime volume increases during the “ber” months because that’s the time when people have the most money with their 13th-month pay and bonuses and are most inclined to go shopping, eat out and basically have some fun. And that’s also the time when criminals get to see a lot of chances to undertake what law enforcement officials call “crimes of opportunity.”

This week, the Philippine National Police went on a chest-thumping spree by declaring that index crimes went down by 11.67 percent during the first 56 days of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. compared to the same period last year. From 1 July to 25 August, the PNP recorded 5,237 index crimes nationwide, lower than the 5,929 incidents for the same period on 2021. Index crimes are offenses that serve as a barometer of criminality as they include murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft and vehicle theft.

The PNP also observed that crimes committed during Marcos’ first 56 days were significantly lower compared to the start of the previous administrations of the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in 2010 and former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. It then cherry-picked data to illustrate its point that the police have not slackened or gone soft against crime under Marcos.

It said that from 1 July to 25 August this year, theft cases dropped to 1,896 from 12,773 in 2010 and 7,514 in 2016; and physical injury dropped to 579 under Marcos’ first 56 days compared to 10,208 in 2010 and 3,777 in 2016.

According to the Philippine News Agency, citing PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin, the same trend held true for robbery (793 from 3,028 in 2016 and 6,580 in 2010; murder (649 from 2,332 in 2016 and 1,423 in 2010; carnapping (280 from 1,253 in 2016 and 1,169 in 2010); rape (903 from 1,666 in 2016 and 704 in 2010); and homicide (161 from 345 in 2016 and 614 in 2010).

Well and good if the PNP can sustain its drive to lessen the number of crimes committed by continuing what it is presently doing now amid what it said to be the discredited view that abduction cases are on the rise. And what is the PNP doing now?

The answer is the increase in police visibility as we see more uniform cops on patrol even on interior subdivision streets. On main roads, seen are members of Special Weapons and Tactics teams who are armed to the teeth on their motorbikes — enough to make common criminals think twice before striking. We just hope this is not all ningas-cogon as consistency is the name of the game.


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