MORE DAR­ING HEISTS

Rob­beries ex­pected to rise even more as Christ­mas draws near, po­lice say

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - by Delta Dyrecka Leti­gio COR­RE­SPON­DENT

De­spite at­tempts by law en­forcers to scare and catch crim­i­nals, the num­ber of rob­bery in­ci­dents in Cebu City has in­creased in Septem­ber. Data from the Cebu City Po­lice Of­fice (CCPO) re­vealed that 61 rob­bery cases were re­ported in the city last month.

This is al­most three times higher than the the 24 rob­bery cases re­ported over the same pe­riod last year.

Cebu City po­lice di­rec­tor, Se­nior Supt Roy­ina Garma, di­rec­tor of the CCPO, said she ex­pects the rob­bery cases in the city to in­crease even more as the Christ­mas sea­son draws near.

She said it is dur­ing the “ber” months or the pe­riod from Septem­ber to De­cem­ber when many rob­beries hap­pen.

“These are the times when peo­ple are in need of money. Rob­bers are ag­gres­sive,” Garma said in an in­ter­view.

The po­lice, she said, are do­ing ev­ery­thing to stop rob­bers from prey­ing on vic­tims.

Mabolo

Most of the rob­bery cases in Septem­ber 2018 took place in ar­eas un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Mabolo Po­lice Sta­tion.

The trend may con­tinue in Oc­to­ber if law en­forcers can­not do more than what they are cur­rently do­ing.

Last Oc­to­ber 3, Lo­raine Tem­ple, a call cen­ter agent, was gunned down by rob­bers af­ter she re­fused to hand over her shoul­der bag along Pope John Paul II Av­enue in Barangay Mabolo.

Shortly af­ter her death, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña an­nounced on his Face­book page that he will cre­ate a bus sys­tem to ferry grave­yard-shift work­ers to the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) firms at the IT Park.

“There will also be widespread in­stal­la­tion of CCTV (closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion) cam­eras in the streets to act as a de­ter­rent to po­ten­tial crime and to mon­i­tor and re­spond to any in­ci­dents that oc­cur,” Os­meña said.

In 2017, the Mabolo Po­lice Sta­tion also had the high­est num­ber of rob­bery cases among Cebu City’s 11 po­lice sta­tions with 126 rob­bery cases.

From Jan­uary to Oc­to­ber 2018, they still lead the list with 49 cases.

Chief Insp. Dindo Juanito Alaras, com­man­der of the Mabolo Po­lice Sta­tion, said they just have a very wide area to se­cure, com­pared to the other precincts.

Mabolo Po­lice Sta­tion is as­signed to se­cure 15 barangays in the city: Car­reta, Luz, Hipo­dromo, Kasam­ba­gan, Mabolo, Apas, Lahug, Bani­lad, Busay, Malubog, Pung-ol Sibugay, Babag, Tabunan, Buot Taup, and Bon­bon.

“We don’t only lack equip­ment, we also lack per­son­nel. We find it dif­fi­cult to mon­i­tor all places that is why we need the help of the tan­ods,” Alaras said in an in­ter­view.

Mabolo Barangay Cap­tain Niña Ma­batid said they also lack tan­ods but they planned to hire more next year once the pro­posed bud­get in­crease will be ap­proved by the city coun­cil.

Fuente Po­lice

While the Mabolo Po­lice Sta­tion topped the list for most cases of rob­bery in the city, the Fuente Po­lice Sta­tion im­proved from 3rd place in 2017 to 6th place this year.

From 59 cases in 2017, the Fuente po­lice only re­ceived 17 rob­bery re­ports from Jan­uary to Oc­to­ber 2018.

Fuente Po­lice Precinct com­man­der, Chief In­spec­tor Ed­uardo Sanchez was de­lighted with the im­prove­ment.

“It only means that our in­ter­ven­tions are work­ing. Our area com­prises six barangays and it is dif­fi­cult to mon­i­tor all es­pe­cially when this area is known for a lot of street crimes. Yet they (rob­beries) have ac­tu­ally de­clined,” said Sanchez.

How­ever, a re­cent rob­bery around Fuente caught the at­ten­tion of more than 6,000 ne­ti­zens on­line af­ter a cer­tain Ys­abelle Baje posted her “trau­matic” rob­bery ex­pe­ri­ence out­side a cafe on F. Ramos street.

Ybaje, in her Face­book post, re­counted how a man ap­proached her and other stu­dents out­side a cafe, who at that mo­ment, did not have a se­cu­rity guard on duty and held them at gun­point and got their money and valu­ables.

Ybaje lost her wal­let con­tain­ing P500 but re­mained safe as she was able to hide in­side the cafe when the rob­ber left to rob the other stu­dents out­side the cafe.

“I thought I was go­ing to die. He had the freak­ing gun so close to me. Just a click away from death na gyud to (It was just a click away from death),” Ybaje wrote in her post.

“So please lang ayaw mo kumpyansa kay even sa cof­fee shop nga daghan og tawo, ma- holdup gi­hapon mo. Dili lang sa jeep or maglakaw alone or with friends, sa dark or min­gaw nga places naay holdup­pers,” she added.

(So please don’t be care­less be­cause even in a cof­fee shop with a lot of peo­ple, you can be robbed. Not only on the jeep­ney or when walk­ing with friends, or around dark places can rob­bers lurk.)

Sanchez said that they are closely mon­i­tor­ing the area.

She also urged pri­vate es­tab­lish­ments to hire their own se­cu­rity guards in or­der to keep their ar­eas safe.

Co­op­er­a­tion

Both Garma and Sanchez be­lieve that the rob­bery in­ci­dents are closely re­lated to il­le­gal drugs since most rob­bers are un­der the in­flu­ence of nar­cotics when they do crim­i­nal acts,

They said rob­bers also re­sort to steal­ing in or­der to buy il­le­gal drugs.

Garma ad­mit­ted that with the lack of man­power, keep­ing the streets safe re­mains a chal­lenge in Cebu City and the po­lice needs the co­op­er­a­tion of the com­mu­nity.

She urged the vic­tims to file cases against rob­bers.

“Huwag po tay­ong mag­patawad. Huwag tay­ong maawa. Ang Pilipino is madal­ing maluoy. They take ad­van­tage of this and mang-bik­tima na na­man sila. Magig­ing cy­cle ito, ” said Garma.

(Let us not for­give. Let not us not pity them. The Filipinos are eas­ily moved. Robbe rs are tak­ing ad­van­tage of this and they will rob again. This is be­com­ing a cy­cle.)

Garma is hop­ing that the up­com­ing Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) grad­u­ates who will be as­signed to Cebu City will be­come a so­lu­tion to the lack of man­power in the city and hope­fully will curb the pres­ence of street crimes.

Po­lice Vis­i­bil­ity

Al­though they are yet to ob­tain data from the po­lice show­ing a rise in the num­ber of rob­bery cases, the Cebu City gov­ern­ment re­quested the CCPO to start in­creas­ing po­lice vis­i­bil­ity es­pe­cially in ar­eas where crimes of­ten hap­pen.

“We are yet to ob­tain data from the po­lice but if ever there is in­deed a high rise in rob­bery in Cebu City, we would like to ask sup­port from the po­lice, and pos­si­bly in­crease po­lice vis­i­bil­ity,” Coun­cilor Dave Tu­mu­lak said in a phone in­ter­view with CEBU DAILY NEWS.

Tu­mu­lak, who is the city’s Deputy Mayor on Po­lice Mat­ters, also re­quested res­i­dents to be wary of their sur­round­ings es­pe­cially when in the streets.

“When out­side, in the streets, or even in­side PUJs (pub­lic util­ity jeep­neys) or while walk­ing, it's ad­vis­able not to wear flashy jew­elry. And as much as pos­si­ble, not to dis­play gad­gets,” said Tu­mu­lak.

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