Northern Mindanao reports drop in July crime rate

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Northern Mindanao saw a drastic drop in the number of crime reports in July compared to the same month in the past 2 years, regional police said Friday, August 12.

Police statistics showed that there was a 44% drop in the overall crime rate for the month of July 2016, a full month after President Rodrigo Duterte took office as the president.

Police Superintendent Surki Serenas, regional police spokesperson said that that based on records, the crime volume for the month of July dropped drastically, compared to figures from 2014 and 2015.

July 2014 registered 3,983 crimes, while [July] 2015 got 3,171 crimes... in [July] 2016, there [were] only 1,974 crimes committed,” Serenas said.

"Our assessment points to the... direct effect of the diminished presence of illegal drugs in the streets, as a result of the intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign," Sereñas said.

Serenas said that most of the crimes committed were related to substance abuse.

"Most of the prevalent crimes are usually drug-related like theft, robbery, domestic violence, rape, and all forms of abuse. We were not surprised of the marked decrease in crime volume," Sereñas said.

Since Operation Tokhang started in Northern Mindanao, a total of 55,613 self-confessed drug users and pushers voluntarily turned themselves over to authorities between July 1 and August11.

Serenas also said that under intensified anti-illegal drugs operations, the police conducted a record-breaking 139 buy-bust operations. “332 [suspects] were arrested with cases filed, 11 killed during legitimate police operations, and over 100 [arrested during] other anti-illegal drugs operations,” Serenas said.

The police also provided data on the 11 killed: 3 in Tagoloan town, 2 in Cagayan de Oro City, one each in Gingoog and Valencia City, 1 in Talakag, Bukidnon, 1 each in Opol and Claveria in Misamis Oriental, and 1 in Misamis Occidental.

The anti-illegal drugs campaign also took its toll on law enforcement: one police operative was killed during police operations, while another one was wounded and another remains in critical condition in a hospital.

"We just hope we can sustain this momentum and get the job done within the allotted time,” Serenas added. –