QCPD: Crime rate up during papal visit
MANILA, Philippines–What “mercy and compassion?”
Despite the presence of Pope Francis in the country, it was business as usual for criminals in Quezon City as the police noted an increase in illegal activities during that period.
In fact, based on the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) weekly crime statistics between Jan. 5 and Feb. 1, the highest number of cases of murder and homicide, robbery and theft, and motorcycle theft were recorded from Jan. 12 to 18.
During the papal visit from Jan. 15 to 19, the bulk of the city’s police force was assigned to secure several areas in Metro Manila on his itinerary—an arrangement criminals apparently took advantage of, according to QCPD director Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao.
From Jan. 12 to 18, there were five cases of murders and homicides, 161 robbery-theft cases, and four cars and 24 motorcycles taken by vehicle thieves.
In the previous week (Jan. 5 to Jan. 11), there were three killings, 140 cases of robbery-thefts while three cars and 10 motorcycles were reported stolen.
Interestingly enough, in the week after the Pope’s visit, there was a decrease in crime incidents. From Jan. 19 to Jan. 25, there were three killings, 144 cases of robbery-theft, three car thefts, and nine motorcycle thefts.
The last week of the month, Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, also showed lower crime rates than on the week of the papal visit with four murders and homicides, 138 cases of robbery-theft while five car and 15 motorcycles were taken.
In an interview, Pagdilao attributed the increase in criminal incidents during the time of the papal visit to “lower police intervention” in Quezon City as he admitted that the QCPD had lent 65 percent of its personnel to augment the security force deployed for Pope Francis’ activities in the metropolis.
This was also reflected in the QCPD’s weekly crime statistics for January, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer. Of the four weeks of January, the period of Jan. 12 to 18 showed the lowest number of deployed police personnel.
For instance, there were only 57 personnel manning checkpoints in the city from Jan. 12 to 18 as opposed to the 365 deployed in the previous week, and 420 in the following week.
The number of mobile patrolmen were also reduced by more than half to 756 between Jan. 12 and 18, down from the 1,234 deployed from Jan. 5 to 11. This was also true of beat patrollers, with only 372 deployed between Jan. 12 and 18, as compared to 1,512 for the previous week.
The personnel assigned to mobile and beat patrol deployment went back up to 558 and 1,370, respectively, on Jan. 19 to 25, after the Pope’s visit.
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