KUCHING: The utilisation of the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) 1959 coupled with strong cooperation from the public and on-going operation by the Sarawak police has seen a reduction of crime rate in the state.
Since Poca was re-used in 2014, the crime index in Sarawak has continued to see a downward trend over the past three years.
Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Dev Kumar said the number of crime cases dropped by six per cent or 425 cases to 6,382 cases in 2017 compared to 6,807 cases the previous year.
Violent crimes dropped by seven per cent or 69 cases from 951 cases in 2016 to 882 cases last year. The same trend, Dev said, also applied to crimes involving property during the same period. Even up to this month, Dev said the crime rate continue to drop and the police are committed to maintain this momentum.
“The strong cooperation from the people as well the quick action and strategy to locate and prosecute offenders are also contributing factors which helps to reduce the crime cases in the state.
“The police also arrested 130 people under Poca last year. These offenders had admitted to committing several crimes and we were unable to prosecute them due to the absence of statements (against the offenders).
“The hardcore criminals had been sent to jail and while the other people arrested the under Poca were placed under restricted residence (internal banishment). This is one of the reasons why the crime index in the state continued to drop,” he said, adding that Sarawak is third highest state in Malaysia to enforce Poca after Selangor and Johor.
He said 37 of the total offenders nabbed under Poca last year were involved in house break-in cases; followed by 30 people for involvement in theft and motorcycle-theft (26).
During the same period, 21 people were arrested under Poca for their involvement in violent/robbery cases and 16 people for car-theft.
Dev, however, said motorcycle-theft cases bucked the trend and registered an increase of 12 per cent or 248 cases to 2,255 cases in 2017 compared to the previous year. Am increasing trend was also occurred for the rape and murder cases in the state. A total of 150 rape cases were reported last year compared to 138 cases in 2016.
The number of murder cases reported last year also slightly increased to 28 cases compared to 27 cases the previous year. He said only three districts in the state recorded an increase in the crime index last year.
The crime index for the Lubok Antu district jumped by 113 per cent or 17 cases to 32 cases last year compared to 15 cases in 2016. A total of 145 cases were reported in the Serian district last year, which is an increase of 13 per cent of 17 cases from last year.
The number of cases recorded in the Kota Samarahan district also increased to 332 cases in 2017 from 303 cases in 2016. “The department’s focus for this year is to remove all the criminals from the streets through various operations and strategies.
“We will locate, arrest and prosecute crime offenders. If we are unable to prosecute them, our option is to use Poca in order to ensure the safety of the people is in order,” he said.