Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Overall crimes increased by 34pc in March

Overall crimes recorded an increase of 34 per cent last month.

According to the statistics released by the Fiji Police Force, a 33 per cent increase was recorded in serious crime, 12 per cent in Crime against Women and a 67 per cent increase in the number of illicit drug cases registered.

The increase in serious offences were for the offences of attempt to commit rape, robbery, burglary, attempted burglary and aggravated robbery. Items such as mobile phones, handbags, cash and wallets were popular targets, giving rise to the opportunistic crimes.

Crimes against women recorded a total of 220 cases, where 30 per cent were committed in domestic settings, perpetrated mostly by spouses and partners.

161 of the women victims were aged between 18 to 38 years, 49 aged between 39 to 59 years and 10 were over 60 years of age.

Of the 220 cases, 17 per ent were sexual offences while assault related offences recorded 83 per cent.

The South, West, East and Central Divisions recorded increases in crimes against women during the reporting period.

A further analysis shows that increases were recorded for Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm (130 cases in March 2023 compared to 148 cases in March 2024) followed by Common assault (20 cases to 22 cases), Rape (11 cases to 15 cases) and Sexual assaults (3 cases to 7 cases).

While crimes against children did not register an increase or decrease with 110 cases recorded in March 2023 and 2024, the figure is still of great concern as one case is one too many.

Of the 110 child victims, 68 were girls and 42 boys who faced the harrowing ordeal of being victims of sexual and assault related offences.

16 per cent of the crimes committed against children were committed in domestic settings where the offender is related or known to the victim.

Crimes against children recorded increases in the Southern Division while the West, East and Northern Divisions recorded decreases while the Central recorded nil change.

Domestic violence cases against women and children recorded a 9 per cent increase where 79 per cent were women victims and 21 per cent were children.

A consistent increase for the last three-month period has been recorded for the number of illicit drug cases registered.

The month of March recorded a total of 160 drug-related cases presenting a significant increase of 67 per cent compared to the same period last year where only 96 cases were reported.

Out of the total 160 drug cases, the majority, comprising 151 cases, were related to the unlawful possession of illicit drugs.

An additional 8 cases were related to the unlawful cultivation of illicit drugs, and one case on unlawful transfer and supply of illicit drugs.

Approximately 18 per cent or 28 cases were associated with Methamphetamine, 2 cases related to cocaine while the remaining 130 cases were related to the unlawful possession or cultivation of Marijuana.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew said as children under 18-years have also been found with drugs, as reflected in statistics for the period of January to March 2024, they are aggressively pursuing proactive measures of raising awareness in schools, through the media and communities noting the worrying trend.

He said of the 526 arrests made during the three-month period, 13 were juveniles, 335 aged between 18 – 35 years, 169 aged between 36 – 55 years with 9 arrests for those aged above 56 years.

Overall the prevalent offences during the month of March were theft, assault causing actual bodily harm, burglary, unlawful possession of illicit drugs and criminal intimidation.

The Acting Commissioner said the increase in overall crime when compared to the average monthly crime trend for the past five years has consistently remained below the average trend.

He however stressed that through police-community partnerships, more can be done to address moral crimes against women and children, and drug related offences.

A/CP Chew said through community policing, Police will continue to engage community leaders, stakeholders and civil society groups for improved and holistic crime prevention initiatives and efforts.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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