Just as the Royal Bhutan Police was warning people of increasing crime, both online and offline, a group of detainees yesterday escaped from the detention centre in Thimphu prompting police to warn people of the possibility of the escapees retaliating, if encountered.

Police have reinforced their manpower at the point of exit. As of yesterday evening, they have rearrested three although Kuensel could not verify independently with the police.

The immediate reaction to the news is pointing fingers at the police with some, on social media, calling for heads to roll while others are questioning how 10 people could escape from a toilet window, all in a morning and secured with police on duty 24/7. 

An inquiry would be called into how the lapses happened, but the concern now is the safety of the people. The detainees could be in the city or could have spread across to prevent rearrest. This poses risk. We don’t know where they are, but what we know is there are seven escapees hiding or freely mixing with the people. 

It is not time for blame games and some information about their suspected whereabouts could help people become more cautious. Hiding information from the media or the public will not help. Among the escapees are a rapist, a murderer, burglars and drug peddlers. It is criminals’ nature to not think twice about committing further crimes when on the run. They could think it is an escape at any cost or serve a longer jail term.

The warning of the sheer number of escapees and that they could retaliate if encountered is frightening people. What we could do is help police nab the escapees before they cause harm to others or themselves. Quite often, out of fear people do not report suspicious persons or activities in their neighbourhood or localities. With a warning from the police, we could help the police by reporting any suspicious faces or activities. Reporting could improve if those reporting are not questioned, bothered if not harassed. 

Meanwhile, with increasing cases of burglary, it is the responsibility of property owners to secure their property and surroundings. There are ways to do it. Like police said, installing close circuit television (CCTV), and strengthening safety and security features could help prevent crime. 

There are technologies that are effective and affordable. It is the responsibility of property owners to ensure the safety of their property and their tenants. We have anti-theft alarm systems, locks and many more to secure property and lives.  

Crimes, petty or severe, will keep happening. It is not only the police’s responsibility to prevent it. All of us can play a part. How they escaped or managed to bring in hacksaw blades to cut the iron rod of a detention centre will be investigated.  Accountability will be fixed.