Should Pinoys feel safer on election years?

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Political rivalries may be ablaze during elections, but government data on reported crime show that Pinoys seem to have reason to feel safer during election years.

Crime volumes and rates both dropped during election years between 1999 and 2008, the National Statistical Coordination Board said Friday.

The same trend was seen from 2009 to 2012, figures incomparable to those in previous years due to a different baseline (2009 data) showed.

Compiling police data, NSCB showed that crime volumes decreased for election years 2001 (-3.9 percent), 2004 (-7.7 percent), 2007 (-15.5 percent).

Crime rates--which measure volume of crimes per 100,000 population--also dipped by 5.9 percent in 2001, 9.7 percent in 2004, 14.1 percent in 2007.

Last election year 2010, crime volume fell by 35.5 percent and crime rate by 202.4 percent.

Related story: Amid spate of crimes, do you still feel safe?

"[T]he public perception of worsening crime statistics may actually just be more an issue of information hype given by media!" NSCB Secretary-General Jose Ramon Albert said.

The top state statistician noted, however, that in years immediately following elections, increases in crime rate and volume have been observed in two out of four since 1999.

Crime volume rose by 11.4 percent in 2002 and by 11 percent in 2008, data showed.

Spikes in crime rates have been also been recorded in the same years--9.2 percent in 2002 and 6.1 percent in 2008.

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The trends included intentional homicides which NSCB said is the crime most likely to go unreported.

This means that declines in crime rates and volumes are unlikely due to unreporting, NSCB added.

The statistics chief also noted that the Philippines "fares comparatively well" with its neighbors in terms of intentional homicides as per United Nations data.

"So, it's not only more fun, but more safe in the Philippines, at least compared to Myanmar and Indonesia, which have far worse homicide statistics," Albert said.

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While the statistics chief touted the consistent downtrend in reported crimes from 2009 to 2012, he noted that the rate of decline is decelerating.

"From 502,665 reported crimes in 2009, the volume of crimes went down to 324,083 in 2010 – a 35.5 percent decrease between the two-year period," Albert said.

"In 2011, reported crime was registered at 246,958, down to 217,812 reported crimes in 2012 – a further (but slower) decline of 11.8 percent," he added.

He also highlighted how crime statistics, albeit improving, remain alarming.

"[T]he 2012 crime figures still translates to an average of 597 crimes being committed per day in the country!" Albert noted.

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