Fear of robbery, unsafe streets, drug addicts up in Mindanao – SWS

MANILA, Philippines – Fear of burglaries and unsafe streets, and the presence of "many" drug addicts have gone down in nearly all areas in the country except in Mindanao, which was been under martial law for over a year, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey held in March but released 3 months later on Thursday, June 21.

According to the results of the First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey conducted from March 23 to 27, 6.6% of families in the country – an estimated 1.5 million families – reported falling victim to common crimes.

Pollsters say that surveys are a snapshot of public sentiment at a particular period only. The survey period does not capture sentiment toward the recent killings of priests last May (Father Mark Ventura) and June (Father Richmond Nilo), and that of Genesis Argoncillo, an alleged "tambay" or loiterer who was allegedly beaten to death while in police custody.

The percentage of families who reported falling victim to common crimes in the first quarter of the year is 1 point lower than the 7.6% recorded in December 2017, representing an estimated 1.7 million families, but 0.5 point higher than the average in 2017, SWS said.

Common crimes refer to robbery of personal property, break-ins, carnapping, and physical violence.

The survey showed there were less break-ins and carnapping incidents compared to the previous polling quarter: 2.2%, or an estimated 516,000 families, said they were victimized by break-ins which is 1.2 points lower than the 3.4% or an estimated 790,000 families, in December 2017.

The survey showed that 54% of Filipinos are afraid of break-ins in March, 5 points lower than in December when it was at 59%. 

Nationwide, less people feared walking in the streets at night – a two-point drop to 46% in March from 48% in December 2107. There was also a two-point drop in the number of people who said there were many drug addicts in their area – 40% from 42%.

Crime insecurity up in Mindanao

While fear of burglaries, unsafe streets, and the presence of drug addicts went down in other areas, the survey showed the opposite for Mindanao, which was been under martial law since May 23, 2017.

Fear of burglaries fell in all areas except in Mindanao, where it rose by 7 points to 54% in March from 47% in December 2017.

Fear of unsafe streets also fell in all areas except in Mindanao, where it increased by 13 points to 48% in March from 35% in December 2017.

The SWS survey said that the presence of many drug addicts was lower in Balance Luzon (from 45% to 39%) and the Visayas (from 43% to 41%), but increased in Metro Manila (from 50% to 51%) and in Mindanao (from 30% to 33%) in March compared to December 2017.

Malacañang welcomed the nationwide survey results, saying the numbers showed that "significant strides have been made in our campaign against illegal drugs and crimes."

The SWS said “survey questions about families victimized by common crimes and feelings of neighborhood-insecurity…are non-commissioned, and are always included on SWS' own initiative and released as a public service.”

The First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey was conducted among 1,200 adults nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Sampling error margins are at ±2.5% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. – Rappler.com