Police call on parents to play a collective role to help further reduce crime   

Younten Tshedup

With fewer people on the streets, especially during the night, and more at their homes, the capital city is witnessing a drop in crime.

As of June 17, Thimphu police station recorded 688 criminal cases compared to 978 cases during the same period last year. As of June 2017 and 2018, there were 1,123 and 1,331 criminal incidents reported to the police, respectively.

Police attribute the drop in cases this year to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

An official from Thimphu police station said that initially most of the burglary cases, one of the common criminal activities in town, occurred because there was no one at home when residents left for work.

With schools and other institutions closed and many office-goers working from home, the homes could not be burgled, officials said.

The drop in crime is attributed to the pandemic; he said crime in the capital, in general, had been decreasing.

To improve policing and community safety, the police started the intelligence-led policing (ILP) system last year. The system is an information-based operating model where data analysis and criminal intelligence are pivotal to objective decision-making and targeted approach to combating crime.

The official said that under the ILP, crime data are analysed every month and accordingly patrolling measures are concentrated. Besides, RBP has also been creating awareness and sensitising the public against criminal activities.

Most crimes occur in Norzin Lam, Changzamtog and Olakha areas.

Larceny, assault or battery (including domestic violence cases), crime related to controlled substances and burglary are the most common offences reported in the capital and across the country today.

Most of the convicts were youth.

The official said that most of the people involved in assaults and battery are students.

“It should be the responsibility of every parent to monitor where their kids are and what they are doing,” he said. “Some parents are least bothered, and they don’t know where their kids are or when they return home.”

He said that the public, in general, is least bothered to guide any youth if found engaging in some illegal activities. “There is no one to tell the kid if he or she is found smoking or loitering around.”

He said that only a few report crimes to police through the emergency line 113, and many do not for fear of police investigation.

He explained that besides the location of the crime and description of the suspect, no personal details are asked from the informers.

“People still feel that by reporting a crime to police, they would be harassed by us. It is not true.”

Deceptive practices and fraudulent check writing are also reported to the police.

The modus operandi involves individuals typically citing non-functioning of ATMs. They ask for cash from shopkeepers and concur to pay electronically (MBoB). They show the shopkeeper fake transaction receipts and flee.

Later, when the shopkeepers realise and report the case, many cannot identify the suspects.