Crime rate in capital drops due to COVID

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Before the pandemic and lockdowns, Thimphu police station used to record three to four cases a day and sometimes more

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the country’s economy, people’s health and livelihoods in adversely but one thing it should be credited with is reducing the crime rate in the capital drastically.

The two newly established police stations (PS) and Central Thimphu PS, North Thimphu PS in Taba and another South Thimphu PS in Babesa recorded 76 crime-related cases and 42 cases of breach of health protocols from December 10, 2020 to January 21, 2021. The two new PS started functioning from January 1, 2021, 11 days after the second lockdown was imposed.

However, there was an increase in the number of domestic violence cases with nine more cases reported as compared to the first lockdown.

Officer-in-Command (OC), Major Gyembo Penjor said that people staying home instead of going out means less crime. This time the scenario was serious compared to the first lockdown. “With local transmission in the capital, we conducted intense patrolling every night and static duties manning in various checkpoints round the clock due to which less crime was recorded. The figure is high only due to breach of health protocols,” he added.

Before the pandemic and lockdowns, Thimphu police station used to record three to four cases a day and sometimes more.

The first lockdown which was announced from August 11 till August 31 last year recorded 38 cases which included mostly substance abuse and three cases of domestic violence.

The police had anticipated more domestic violence cases compared to others but it turned out otherwise.

“Since there are organizations like NCWC and RENEW, the victims directly contact them which is one of the reasons why domestic violence cases recorded with police is comparatively less even during lockdowns,” said the OC.

During the first lockdown, there was no community transmission hence the patrolling was less intense. This resulted in more crimes compared to the second lockdown.

Meanwhile, the police station has adopted strict guidelines while attending to a case.

Telephonic complaints are entertained only if the cases are not serious but if the case is serious, a designated vehicle is assigned which needs to undergo disinfection compulsorily and is parked separately. A designated clerk and investigation team is assigned for the case.

“If the person or the suspect is a repeat offender or has committed a heinous crime then he/her is taken to JDWNRH for the COVID-19 test. If he/she tests negative, then we detain him. For petty cases, the suspects are sent on surety and the case will be pursued after the lockdown,” said the OC, “We have been following the COVID-19 protocols strictly and there is no compromise because of which there is not a single positive case among the police personnel of Thimphu police station.”

Chencho Dema from Thimphu

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