The Fiji Police Force is closely monitoring an increase in crimes against properties such as theft and burglaries.
Acting Police Commissioner Ravi Narayan said property crimes remain prevalent from January 01 to February 16 this year.
He said police have recorded a total crime volume of 1444 crime incidents comprising of 172 Property crimes or 12 percent of the total crime volume.
Leading among these cases is theft covering some 482 cases which comprises of 34 Percent of the total crime volume in the country while physical injuries compose some 381 cases or 26 Percent of the total crime volume.
A total of 374 cases or 26 per cent relate to offences against morality. The other 35 cases relate to annoying person, criminal trespass and others.
The acting police chief also reported that 976 cases or sixty eight percent of the crime incidents occurring in the month of January have been cleared and forwarded for prosecution.
The top cop also reported a crime clearance efficiency of sixty eight percent will increase as police are following on the cases that remain undetected as they try to improve on crime prevention and finding solutions.
While the statistics remain low especially in crime solution, he has been assuring the public that the police are doing its best in reducing crimes through visibility and by regularly patrolling cities and towns and crime prone areas.
But he also acknowledged the important role of community by being vigilant in reporting crimes.
He says that these crimes are prevalent in Valelevu and Nasinu Police District, Namaka, Ba and Nadi.
Since the acting commissioner has assumed the responsibility of looking after the Fiji Police Force in September last year, he has improved police visibility and mobility with the introduction of patrol cars in Suva City and allocated vehicles specifically to the Criminal Investigation Units in Totogo, Valelevu, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba to assist them in detection of criminal cases and apprehending criminals.
His key focus areas are on leadership, people, partnership, safety on the roads and parks and the prevention and detection of crime.
The Fiji Police Force is also seeking the assistance of the city and town councils and other private institutions to provide closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to help prevent crimes.
The top cop is also seeking community assistance in his campaign against illegal dealing in drugs, gambling, illegal sale of liquor and neutralization of wanted persons and receivers of stolen properties.
To improve the current statistics of crime solution, the acting police commissioner said they have started profiling arrested persons to establish modes of operation of these criminals.
The Divisional Police Commanders and Director of Criminal Investigations Department have also been tasked to conduct follow up operations on cold cases.
According to the acting commissioner of Police “Community safety is everyone’s responsibility and crime prevention is everyone’s business.”
This he said reflects the understanding that strategic partnerships working diligently towards a community-based shared responsibility can prevent crime.
The intention of the Duavata Community Policing initiative is to create safe communities, from the corporate sector right down to the local neighborhood level, by empowering the community to play an active role in crime reduction initiative.
The challenge faced by the Fiji Police is developing and sustaining these partnerships. Successful and meaningful partnership require strong and committed leadership from every person who has a responsibility for public safety and the maintenance of the quality of life available to all citizens.
At the center of the Duavata process is the need to bring critical stakeholders from the disciplines of justice, education, health, social services and urban planning together with community organizations, faith group leaders and communities.
A multiagency response is required in order to ensure that all environmental and sociological factors that contribute to the existence of crime in a neighborhood are identified and effectively addressed.
When all the appropriate agencies are working together towards a common goal, the end result is sure to be community mobilization in its truest sense.
We want the Duavata community Policing initiative to be recognized and to be the successful community crime prevention initiative for Fiji.
He said that in order for crime prevention programs to succeed, strong visionary and committed leadership is crucial. This type of critical leadership must come from within the ranks of the partnership and include both police representatives and community advocates.
Among observations and complaints brought to his office are complaints that policemen have been focusing on solving other crimes and have not been apprehending violators of Copy Right Act and other violations.
He says that they are stretching all its resources to meet expectations.
He says that successful long term crime prevention strategy is to identify the resources available and then utilizing the resources to the fullest extent.
Narayan said that the effectiveness of crime prevention concepts and initiatives will be elevated by simply embracing the importance of introducing volunteers to the program. Volunteers are the strong threads that can help bind communities together. In addition to a willingness to get involved, volunteers are those who possess a high level of enthusiasm, an unselfish attitude and a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the community.
He has directed the divisional Police Commanders to organise Community Policing Symposium in their divisions to take this initiative further.
In the meantime he has formed task force teams in some districts to prevent and detect offences, he said.
In concluding, the Acting Commissioner said the community should play an active role in protecting their lives and property.
“They should first of all secure their properties and inform police if the property will be vacant for some time, they also need to inform police if they notice unknown people acting suspiciously within the vicinity of their compound, ” Narayan said.