Crime rate decreases, Police say
The national crime rate recorded a 49 per cent decline in 2018, but the Police still have more to do, Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil says.
The data for the 2017-2018 Financial Year is contained in the Ministry of Police's recent annual report and was collected through four monitoring and evaluation quarters as well as weekly reports provided by Police statisticians.
“[The] Criminal Offences rate has decreased from [the previous Financial Year] by 49 percent. This is a massive change compared to the previous reporting year’s increase," the report said.
"This decline reflects the effectiveness and efficiency of ongoing awareness programs and variety of activities that Samoa Police is implementing on a non-stop day to day basis."
But the report also notes that year-on-year changes can also reflect factors such as a greater tendency by the public to report crimes, or improvements in data capture and analysis.
The Commissioner of Police told the Samoa Observer that while the number has decreased the Police work continues to raise awareness of crime and to promote deterrence of crime by reminding the public the consequences of their actions.
Fuiavaili’ili urges the public to call the Police for assistance whenever a crime is suspected.
The Commissioner also elaborated on the important work of the “Police Statistics Team” which was established three years ago to collect data to reflect the reported crimes and the work of police.
“This new division collect data and stats captures the rate and also looks for specific crime patterns and which area to we can go out and address it then and there and we have seen the reduction in crimes,” said the Commissioner.
Traffic offences also reduced significantly during the same period, by 38 per cent, the statistical survey found.
"The drop in [positive alcohol tests is] because Police [are] doing more road patrols and implementing the usage of the breathalyser to capture and report drunk driving," the report finds.
“Again this is an improvement from the rising rate from the last Financial Year.”
However, the report points to an increase in sexual crimes. The data shows that sexual crimes of all kinds are increasing, except for sexual cases involving girls under the age of 12.
“This increase is more likely the outcome of improved systems carried out by certain sections of the Ministry to capture these offences. And also the awareness programs are coming to impact public’s fearful mindset to become fearless in reporting these crimes," the report said.
There is a noticeable decrease in categories such as causing serious injury, while the rates of murder and manslaughter have dropped slightly albeit it off a low base of incidents.
Property crime of all kinds is rising, with the exception of burglary and theft. Instances of theft were up to 584 in the period covered by the report, up from 354 the preceding year. Similarly, theft as a servant cases grew to 86 from 56 the year prior.
The report says there is an increase in all classes relating to Crimes against Right of Property except for Burglary and Theft. In particular, Theft is rising with 589 cases reported versus 354 the previous year and for theft as a servant there were 86 cases compared to 56 the year before.
The possession of hard drugs increased year-to-year also; data shows a significant spike in cases of marijuana possession, which were up to 130 cases compared to 73 the previous year.
“There are hardly any offences on possession of [methamphetamine] with both possession of [substances] and utensils dropping in this reporting year,” says the annual report.