Nationwide Crime Statistics Q3 2020

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Official crime statistics of index crimes in the Philippines declined dramatically after the lockdown started in March 2020. By the 3rd Quarter 2020, crime statistics had begun to rise but were still below the first-quarter levels earlier in 2020. Early in the lockdown, officials and private sector cybersecurity experts indicated that there had been an uptick in reports of cybercrime as syndicates moved online into online shopping fraud and various other online scams. This uptick in cybercrime mirrored global trends.

Despite the general lack of indicators in official crime statistics, PSA is still unsure of whether or not the petty crime risk one faces as an individual is elevated compared to before the start of the pandemic, assuming one engages in the same kinds of behaviors that they did before the pandemic. While index crimes are down, this may be because there are fewer targets on the street, with more individuals working from home and engaging in other activities online. Alternatively, and more positively, there is a more visible police presence, and movement for criminal elements may be more difficult. There are anecdotal indicators of an increased risk of various forms of crime against property including more individuals begging on the street, and specific anecdotal reports of more crime in certain sectors, but it is difficult to conclude authoritatively that crime risk is elevated.

Nonetheless, in terms of the crimes of greatest concern, such as violent crime and kidnapping, PSA generally sees continuity to similar levels of crime in recent years. For example, criminal kidnappings continue to be heavily associated with the gambling and online gaming sectors.

PSA continues to believe that a certain level of awareness about and countermeasures against petty crimes and cybercrimes should be exercised by all residents in the Philippines, regardless of where residents live or if they are foreign or local. These include maintaining situational awareness and control of one’s belongings in public places.