MANILA, Philippines – The volume of crimes in the Philippines has dropped in 2017, data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) show.
According to numbers acquired by Rappler from the PNP's Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), there was a total of 100,668 index crimes recorded from January to November 2017.
It represents a 21.8% drop from the period in 2016, where they recorded 128,730 index crime incidents.
The December crime data is set to be released in mid-January 2018.
Index crimes are offenses against persons and against property that are recognized nationwide and used by the PNP to assess public safety.
Non-index crimes refer to violations of special laws and ordinances. Because the counts vary as one crosses local government territories, the PNP does not use them as a gauge of public safety.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said the numbers show that the country has become a "safer" place in 2017.
"If we would look at the crime environment as the basis, then 2017 is safer for Filipinos or anybody here in the Philippines," Carlos told Rappler in an interview.
Murders fell by 20.6%, with 8,239 murders tallied between January and November 2017 from 10,384 recorded in 2016 in the same time period.
The crime saw a decline all throughout the year, reaching a two-year low in November with 557 murders. (READ: Except for killings, all crimes drop in Duterte's 1st year)
Homicide is the only index crime that rose by 14.6% in 2017, with 2,082 killings recorded in 2016 rising to 2,386 in 2017.
The PNP, DIDM officials told Rappler, records all killings as homicides, and when they find that the slaying was premeditated and intentional, they transfer the tally over to murder.
Homicide incidents almost doubled in May 2017 with 232 cases, jumping from 134 in April 2017. The soar stayed until October before dropping back below 200 in November.
Physical injury means assaults that result to another person's injury, regardless of the wounds' severity.
From 32,459 attacks in 2016 to 28,794 in 2017, physical injuries dropped by 11.3%.
The crime went down consistently, with its lowest record count of 2,112 in November almost 300 below the second lowest recorded in August.
Rape incidents dropped by 1,079 (12.4%), from 8,663 in 2016 to 7,584 in 2017.
Contrary to the claim of PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that rape incidents rose when the PNP was taken out of the drug war in October, the police's own data showed the sexual crime slightly sliding down from 575 to 551 between October and November.
Robbery incidents fell from 19,759 in 2016 to 15,083 in 2017, registering a 23.6% decline.
The drop in robbery numbers began as early as January 2016 and continued until November 2017, going down by around 50 incidents every month.
Thefts went down by almost a third from 2016 to 2017, with the PNP recording 46,232 incidents between January and November 2016 and 32,356 in the same period in 2017.
Drops are steady between the months of August and November while numbers went up and down between March and July.
Despite the numbers fluctuating for the past months, cases of carnapping of motor vehicles still dropped by 35.5% in 2017 compared to 2016, with the PNP counting 470 by November 2017 compared to 729 by November 2016.
Carnapping of motorcycles have a more visible trend compared to the first type of vehicle theft, with numbers visibly going down over the last two years.
The PNP counted 5,486 motorcycle carnapping incidents in 2017 between January and November – a 31.2% drop from the same timeframe in 2016 where they had recorded 7,979 cases of the crime.
Safer regions, safer country
The National Capital Region (NCR) continues to top Philippine regions in crime volume, with 16,930 incidents, while the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) stayed at the bottom with just 1,141 recorded crimes.
This is not surprising, Carlos said, as Metro Manila is the most densely populated region in the country, while the ARMM is one of the least densely populated areas.
Of all the regions, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) saw its index crimes drop the most, registering a decrease of 58.4%.
The northern Luzon region recorded 3,754 between January and November 2016, down to 1,562 recorded within the same months in 2017.
With these numbers, Carlos said the PNP sees 2017 as a success for their anti-criminality campaign.
He added, however, that the project to bring down criminality is not just a campaign of the PNP, but a project of every Filipino. He said the biggest deterrents to crime are awareness and alertness of all citizens.
The first can be done, Carlos said, through taking care and knowing all modus operandi of criminals, which are regularly announced by the PNP through the media.
The second is useful in reporting suspicious persons to the PNP to prevent crime outright.
He called on citizens to be "the watchdog and being the eyes and ears of the community." They can call 911 or text 2286, he said.
If citizens prefer to report in person, Carlos said, local police stations are always open to accept information to prevent crime in their communities. – Rappler.com