Zambo police chief denies hike in robbery incidents, other crimes

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 28 Sep) – City Police Director Rexmel Reyes denied speculations on the hike of robbery cases in the city, stirring Zamboangueños’ concern on public safety as the number of COVID-19 cases has gone up once again.

Col. Rexmel Reyes, Zamboanga City police chief. Photo from Col. Reyes’s Faceboo page

Since January, the Zamboanga City Police Office has recorded a total of seven robbery incidents, five of which were already filed in court and two still under investigation.

“Police authorities are continuously following up the status of the two remaining cases under investigation. Persons of interest have been positively identified and continuous investigation and collaboration with the complainant and witnesses have been vigorously undertaken despite the hesitancy of some complainants to pursue with the filing of the case for fear that their business might be affected,” Reyes elaborated.

As to the resolution of cases, for the period of January to date, ZCPO recorded a crime volume of 2,103 as compared to 3,103 of the same period in 2020 with a decrease of 32.22%. For the crime clearance efficiency, it has increased by 17.94%, that is 95.57% recorded for the first three quarters of 2021 as compared to 77.63% for the same period in 2020. For the crime solution efficiency, the office recorded an increase of 4.88%, that is 61.94% in 2021 as compared to 57.06% in 2020, leaving only with 4.42% cases under investigation as compared to last year with 22.36%.

On Sept. 22, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco attended the virtual meeting of the Strong Cities Network – a global network dedicated to addressing all forms of violent extremism, hate and polarization, while promoting a human rights-based prevention framework – that gathered mayors and local chief executives across the globe, where she talked on the city’s efforts towards preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism in the city and the surrounding areas.

“Police have a bigger role due to enforcement of COVID protocols and I stand by all our security forces because crime solution requires a whole-of-a-city approach down to the barangay. We note also even our security personnel have to be isolated as they and their families are affected by COVID. We need to help them to protect our families,” the mayor stated.

Reyes said that the immediate arrest of the perpetrators and the timely filing of cases with the court speak well of the responsiveness of the police force towards addressing crime incidents. The help of the community, as well as the collaborative efforts with other concerned agencies and the local government units, contribute to the peace and order and effective law enforcement.

“Moreover, the deployment of security personnel based on crime map and crime clock and intensified conduct of law enforcement operations vis-a-vis implementation of quarantine and health protocols remain one of the top priorities as cases of COVID-19 remain volatile,” added the city police director.

“Furthermore, the conduct of intensified checkpoint operations in all borders and quarantine checkpoints in collaboration with the Local Inter Agency Task Force helps the city in the fight against COVID-19,” Reyes said.

At noon Monday, a hostage-taking incident took place along Campaner St. in Barangay Zone IV where a young man held hostage a certain Nenita Jalon, 72, with the use of two big bolos and a smaller bladed weapon. The police handled the negotiations through Maj. Chester Natividad, the local station commander. The victim was released after 45 minutes, and the police subdued the hostage-taker, who is now under police custody.

The Zamboanga City Police Office has been a consistent recipient of the Best City Police Office. Recently, the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police conferred a plaque of recognition to Col. Reyes as the “best senior police commissioned officer in the field of operations” during the 120th Police Service Anniversary Celebration. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)