Crime statistics matter

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/07:18:27am 08/07/2021


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CRIME statistics can be boring, yet interesting.

These can be revealing, intriguing and even misleading, depending how we appreciate information, analyze the data, and interpret the trends out of plotted numbers through time.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is good at it. It has trained enumerators, and statisticians who, all these years, have imbibed the professional acumen and eye for details.

They make PSA data reliable and credible. Still, those who utilize PSA-sourced information must examine how, who, where and when these data were generated.

Admittedly, PSA cannot possibly cover all fields of interest, and one of the examples is that of the performance indicators of police organization, whether a crime information reporting and analysis system is in place.

For this purpose, all police stations and offices are directed to quantify their accomplishments, integrate these at the police regional offices and collated at the national headquarters.

Crime statistics are undeniably useful basis in policy formulation and decision-making at all levels of administration, including the promotion and movement of officers, recruitment, training and deployment of personnel, allocation of resources and logistics, and in dealing with the peculiarities in local governance and private sector and non-governmental organization linkages.

Weeks ago, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office 10, Col. Michelle Olaivar, shared their Crime Statistics Report for the First Semester (January to June) 2021 of the region, during a virtual presser of the Philippine Information Agency 10.

For comparative purposes and to put the analysis in proper context, Views from the South requested Col. Olaivar for the PRO-10 First Semester report of 2020 which she gladly granted.

From these two statistical reports, PRO 10 can claim crime incidents in Northern Mindanao has reduced by 12 percent during the first six months this year; with index crimes registering 16% reduction to 890 cases this year from 1,055 in 2020.

Non-index crimes totalled to 3,261 in the first semester this year while there were 4,667 for the same period last year.

Index crimes consist of carnapping, homicide, murder, physical injuries, rape, robbery, theft, and composite while non-index includes violators of Republic Act No. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 9172), Republic Act No. 11332 (Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases and related issuances), local ordinances and special laws.

In both first semesters of 2021 and 2020, PRO 10 posted more than 90% crime clearance efficiency (CCE) of the eight focused “index crimes,” the regional information officer-designate said, explaining further that crimes are deemed “cleared” once the suspect is identified and a corresponding case has been filed.

But crimes remain unsolved even if cases are cleared. Law enforcement is just one of the pillars of justice; prosecution, judiciary, penology, and the community have their respective roles, too.

The PRO 10-2021 first semester report, as well as that of the previous year for the same period, clearly show relatively low crime solution efficiency (CSE) figures: 52.8% for January to June 2021, and 63% for January to June 2020. For the first six months this year, 470 of the 890 index crimes reported are “case cleared” by PRO-10.

Col. Olaivar explained CSE well in the virtual presser: It means that the offender has been identified, sufficient evidence has been secured for the filing of the case against the offender, the offender has already been arrested and is in custody of law enforcement agency, and appropriate case has already been filed in court.

Other than case cleared, case solved, there are cases which are classified as “under investigation” which the PRO-10 failed to mention, or there are none on this kind at Camp Vicente G. Alagar, the regional police headquarters.

What could be reassuring is the assurance of Col. Olaivar that the pandemic has not, in any way, affected their collective performance – their CCE and CSE.

And these are clearly indicated in the statistics she shared. Police Brig. Gen. Rolando Anduyan, regional director of the PNP in Region 10, and his officers must be commended for his.

In both periods, Northern Mindanao and Cagayan de Oro have already been under the “new normal” though the regional capital city was of stricter quarantine status than the region.

It was only in July 2021 when Cagayan de Oro was placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine, which has been extended, as this writing.

Let’s hope the second semester performances of PRO 10 and all its local offices and stations would be better than the first six months this year, or for the same period last year. Nobody knows for now.

Under normal times, even more compelling under the “new normal” due to the coronavirus pandemic, securing the lives and properties of every person has never been as challenging than before. For this, crime statistics really matter.

We all know no one has the immunity from coronavirus infections, symptoms, and deaths – even if fully vaccinated – no matter how prepared, equipped, trained our law enforcers are.

(Uriel Quilinguing has been a journalist for more than four decades. He has edited Cagayan de Oro-based dailies and weeklies, anchored radio and TV public-affairs programs, and led media groups including the Cagayan de Oro Press Club as its past president, and the Philippine National Police Press Corps 10 as its former executive vice president. For comments and reactions, these may be sent to uriel.quilinguing@gmail.com)


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