In shuttered Boracay, crime rate sinks by 89% — PNP
The crime rate in Boracay has dipped by an astounding 89 percent, thanks to better police interventions and the fact that fewer people roam the shut-down holiday island.
Amid the government’s efforts to rehabilitate the world-famous beach destination, which President Duterte has likened to a “cesspool,” the Western Visayas Command of the Philippine National Police reported a substantial decline in index crimes.
Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, head of the regional police, said the crime environment in Boracay had “immensely improved,” with an 88.84 percent decrease in crime volume during the first month of the island’s closure to tourists—April 26 to May 25—compared to the same period last year.
The Boracay Police Task Force (BPTF) reported 11 incidents of “focus” or index crimes during the monthlong period, 85 incidents fewer than those reported in the same 30-day stretch last year. The PNP’s index crimes include car and motorcycle theft, robbery, ordinary theft, physical injury, rape, homicide, and murder.
Based on public information office data furnished the Inquirer, murder cases decreased from two to one, physical injuries from 39 to three, rape from two to zero, theft from 51 to six, and motorcycle theft from one to zero.
“The projected rise of crimes claimed by critics prior the Boracay’s closure was controlled due to responsive police interventions and strategies undertaken by the [task force] in cooperation with the other government agencies, stakeholders and the community,” it said.
The local government of Malay, Aklan, which has jurisdiction over Boracay, earlier expressed fears of possible increases in mental health problems and the crime rate after thousands of Boracay residents lost their livelihood following the island’s closure.
The BPTF has a 628-strong force that provides security to government teams inspecting the island’s 1,307 establishments. The task force also enforces the “one-entry, one-exit” policy to prevent tourists breaching the ban, and coordinates with the local Land Transportation Office in the impounding of a total of 86 vehicles on the island.
Binag attributed the decline in crime volume to responsive police strategies, not to the fewer number of people on the island.
“Almost everyone was saying that crime would increase because the people would lose livelihood,” Binag said. “So based on that, we looked at areas where people were vulnerable to commit crime, and we engaged them … [like] setting up curfews for the youth, and tapping security guards, the neighborhood watch as force multipliers.”
Only half of about 2,200 guards in Boracay had remained after the closure, Binag said. “We looked at the crime clock, and saw that theft usually happen at night. So we put 60 percent of our deployment into the night shift.”
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