AMIDST the high-profile killings around the province, the most recent being the murder of Fr. Florante Rigonan of the Catholic Church in Pinili, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) officials insist that the province is still ranked number one in terms of crime solution efficiency compared to the other Ilocos provinces.
P/Supt. Benjamin Lusad, deputy provincial director for administration, said with only 589 detailed policemen in the 21 towns and two cities of Ilocos Norte, which has a total population of 658,454, the province still leads the way in crime solution efficiency in the whole Ilocos region.
Lusad made the pronouncement during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting attended by provincial and municipal officials, police officers, as well as concerned groups, the church and members of the tri-media.
In the same report, it was also mentioned that Ilocos Norte does not have any active criminal syndicate and there has been no cases of random violence. It was further stated that the crime volume in the province is decreasing compared to other provinces.
With a crime volume of 144 comprised of 79 index crimes and 65 non-index crimes in 2006, the number of index crimes decreased this year to 57 as of September. This year’s non-index crime however increased to 89 and at least a one percent increase in crime solution efficiency.
Compared to other provinces in the Ilocos region, Pangasinan ranked first followed by La Union and Ilocos Sur with Ilocos Norte having the least number of crime volume at 132.
In the official website of the INPPO, it was also reported at that 21 persons were arrested between January 1, 2006 to November 30, 2006 for possession of firearms and other dangerous weapons. In the national police website for the region it reports 301 cases of murder in the province from January 2004 to June 2007.
Among the high-profile crimes that remain unresolved include the murder of Judge Ariston Rubio, who was shot to death in 2001 by motorcycle-riding men as he drove to the local courthouse. A task force was organized but the lack of witnesses has hampered the investigation.
Although most of the other high profile killings in the province, which include the assassinated mayors of Vintar, Marcos and Bacarra, have been deemed solved by the police after they have filed charges against suspects in court, the masterminds of the grisly crimes remain unknown.
Meanwhile, the police have acknowledged their limitation in crime prevention as they admitted that the lack of personnel and the lack of equipments, such as patrol vehicles, and the cooperation of the community are very much needed in the maintenance of peace and order in the locality.
Leilanie G. Adriano