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Duterte's drug war lowered crime rate, Palace says

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, stands beside new Police Chief, Director Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa, during the "Assumption of Command" ceremonies at Camp Crame, Philippine National Police headquarters, in suburban Quezon city, Manila, Philippines on Friday, July 1, 2016. Duterte, who was sworn in as the Philippines' 16th president, has given himself a colossal campaign promise to fulfill, eradicating crime especially drug trafficking, smuggling, rapes and murder in three to six months. AP/Aaron Favila
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality — criticized for supposedly encouraging human rights abuses — has pulled down the country’s crime rate in the first seven months, Malacañang said Sunday.
 
Citing a report by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said crime volume went down by 9.8 percent to 50,817 from 56,339 in the same period last year.
 
“The campaign against drugs and crime of the present administration is gaining positive results a month after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assumed office in Malacañan,” Andanar told radio station dzRB.
 
“It proves that the bold solution and swift action that the president is known for is not just a campaign slogan during the campaign period. It is change that will be felt by every Filipino wherever they are,” he added.
 
The average monthly crime rate hit 49.15, down by 11.51 percent from 55.54 last year. The average monthly crime rate refers to the average number of crime incidents in a given period of time for every 100,000 inhabitants per month.
 
 
Crime clearance efficiency, the percentage of cleared cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies, improved to 69.49 percent in July from 63.49 percent. A case is cleared when at least one of the offenders has been identified, there is sufficient evidence to charge him and he has been charged before the prosecutor's office or the court.
 
Crime solution efficiency or the percentage of solved cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies went up to 57.37 percent from 51.38 percent. A case is considered solved when the offender has been identified, there is enough evidence to charge him, the offender has been taken into custody and the offender has been charged before the prosecutor's office or the court.
 
Authorities also regard the case as solved when some elements beyond police control prevent the arrest of the offender such as when the victim refuses to prosecute or the offender dies or the arrest of one offender can solve several crimes or several offenders may be arrested while solving one crime. 
 
Index crime volume decreased by 31.01 percent to 11,800 from 17,105. PNP defines index crime as those that are serious and occur with sufficient frequency.
 
The number of crimes against persons went down to 11,800 last month from 17,105.  Murder incidents, however, rose by 68 percent to 1,271 in July from 755 last year. Homicide incidents also increased to 214 from 197. Incidents involving physical injury, however, decreased to 2,847 from 4,168 last year. Rape incidents also dipped to 838 from 879.
 
The number of property-related crimes went down by 40.30 percent to 6,630 from 11,106, PNP data showed. The number of robbery incidents plunged to 6,630 from 11,106 while that of theft decreased to 4,230 from 7,168. Car theft incidents went down to 705 from 1,109 while that of cattle rustling decreased to 47 from 72.
 
The volume of non-index crimes went down slightly to 39,017 from 39,234.
 
“We urge the public to continue cooperating with the Philippine National police so that the number of crimes will continue to decrease,” Andanar said.
 
Duterte has promised to suppress crime and narcotics within three to six months and has declared a brutal and bloody war against drug lords.
 
More than 500 people have been killed and more than 7,300 others have been arrested so far in the intensified anti-drug campaign, according to the PNP. More than 540,000 drug pushers and users have surrendered to authorities.
 
Human rights advocates raised concerns on the recent spate of killings of suspected drug personalities. They are worried that the anti-drug war may be encouraging summary executions and abuses.
 
 
Duterte has repeatedly said that he knows the limits of his powers and does not tolerate extralegal killings.
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