JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday enumerated a number of ‘best police practices’ that could be replicated nationwide to further reduce crime during the pandemic.
According to the official, they have been conducting an assessment and analysis of the peace and order situation in the time of coronavirus pandemic to identify and institutionalize strategic measures that could be used to maintain the low crime rate that the country has been consistently recording in the past 160 days of community quarantine.
Eleazar said that there are a number of best practices that could be replicated and permanently implemented to further improve the peace and order situation in the country especially once the country and the rest of the world successfully overcome the serious challenge brought by the killer virus.
Among them are the implementation of the concept of Quarantine Control Points (QCPs) that is being augmented by the random checkpoints and the renewed cooperation and coordination between the national law enforcement agencies and the security personnel of the Local Government Units (LGUs) especially at the barangay level.
Strategic deployment of policemen to maximize police visibility, as approved by Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa was also a key in the reduction of the criminal incidents, according to the official.
“We have been continuously adjusting our security measures in this time of pandemic and this comes with a good experience and good learning process in understanding what needs to be done in order to further improve the peace and order situation in the country,” he said
He said that this could be particularly done when it comes to the implementation of curfew hours which has been known as a major crime deterrent.
“If we could sustain the significant decrease in the crime rate, it would be the Filipino people who would benefit from it and we in the JTF COVID Shield that the good peace and order situation in the country would help a lot for the country to immediately bounce back from the adverse impact of this pandemic,” said PLt. Gen. Eleazar.
Based on the JTF COVID Shield data, there was a 49 percent decrease in the crime incidents in the country during the 160 days of the community quarantine compared to the 160-day period before the first community quarantine status was declared on March 17.
The biggest decline, according to the official were in the cases of carnapping of motorcycles and motor vehicles, theft and robbery which all registered more than 60 percent reduction.
He said that from 1,730 cases of carnapping of motorcycles October 9, 2019 to March 16, 2020, the figure is down at 550 from March 17 to August 23, or a 68 percent reduction.
Eleazar said the significant decrease in carnapping of motorcycles is important since carnapped motorcycles are usually being used in various criminal activities like robbery, theft and murder.
Robbery cases also decreased by 62 percent (from 4,61 to 1,548) while theft is down by 63 percent (from 8,957 to 3,443 cases). For carnapping of motor vehicles, it was reduced from 196 to 65, or a decrease by 67 percent.
On the other hand, cases of murder was reduced by 25 percent; homicide cases are down by 26 percent; physical injury cases was reduced by 39 percent while rape cases is down by 27 percent during the period.
Eleazar said that a comparison between the March 17 to August 23 period last year and March 17 to August 23 this year revealed that the crime incidents reduction was higher at 54 percent.
The reason, he explained is that the crime incidents in the last four years under the administration of President Duterte have been consistently on a decline due to the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.
Based on the study of the PNP, most of the criminal incidents are illegal drugs-related as majority of the perpetrators have history of illegal drugs abuse—from theft, robbery and carnapping for drug addicts to have money to buy illegal drugs; to murder, rape and homicide that are usually committed when the drug personalities are high on drugs.
In Metro Manila alone, the crime incidents went down by almost 60 percent in the first 40 months of the administration of President Duterte.
“Since crime incidents have been consistently on a decline in the last four years, the tendency is for the reduction rate to narrow because we are comparing two periods of time when the crime incidents have already been reduced,” the official said.
Eleazar said this is the reason why the JTF COVID Shield has been using a period closest to the declaration of the community quarantine to get the most accurate data on crime incidents comparison.
The Joint Task Force COVID-19 commander said a significant decrease in the crime incidents were reported at the span of the community quarantine due to strict implementation of quarantine rules, the reason why the crime incidents during the 160-day period before the declaration of community quarantine were further cut by 49 percent during the 160-day quarantine period.
“During these period, we have seen various good anti-crime measures that are worth replicating in other areas and worth institutionalizing and we are currently analyzing them in order to come up with new strategies to maintain the peace and order situation even after the COVID problem is addressed,” he stressed.
“We in the JTF COVID Shield believe that we, as a nation, will not only come out strong from the challenge of coronavirus pandemic but also use the experience we have been gaining in terms of making our country a better and secured place to live in,” the official added.