Police Record Drop In Crime Rates Amids Covid-19 Response

A police officer wearing a helmet shaped to resemble the Covid-19 virus disinfects vehicles on April 3, 2020 in Mojokerto, East Java. (AFP/JUNI KRISWANTO )

The National Police say that crime rates across the country have dropped as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“There has been a significant decrease in the levels of felonies, misdemeanors and public disturbances,” National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra said by video link from the Jakarta headquarters of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) during a press conference on Thursday.

The police recorded 3,743 felonies nationwide last week from 4,197 felonies the previous week.

Misdemeanors had also decreased 53.82 percent from 301 to 139 cases, while public disturbances had dropped 34.78 percent from 69 to 45 cases.

Asep said that during the ongoing health emergency, the National Police would focus on crimes related to personal protective equipment (PPE) that were sorely needed by medical workers.

“The National Police, together with health agencies and [PPE] distributors, will be running close surveillance to ensure an adequate supply of PPE […] especially for health workers,” he said.  

The police have uncovered 18 cases of price gouging, stockpiling, and obstructing the distribution and production of PPE. The police have named 33 suspects, of which two have been detained.

Several reports on the theft of PPE have emerged in past weeks.

In March, police arrested three employees of a hospital in Cianjur, West Java, for stealing hundreds of boxes of masks that the trio allegedly planned to resell. In Pekanbaru, Riau, an ambulance driver was arrested for allegedly stealing a box containing 1,000 masks intended for a puskesmas (community health center).

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