Malawi Police in tea growing mountanious district of Mulanje have witnessed a decrease in a crime rate in the year just ended which has been attributed to, among others, good police-community relations but number of sex crimes reported continue to remain high.
In 2016, law-enforcers in the district registered 1,526 cases compared to 2,320 cases registered in 2015, representing a 34.3 percent decrease.
Mulanje police Public Relations Officer, Sergeant Gresham Ngwira said the district recorded less cases of robbery with violence, breaking and burglary among others.
“This has been possible due to various factors including good police-community relations, increased crime prevention awareness campaigns and increased police visibility both in uniform and civilian to mention but just a few,” said Ngwira.
During the year 44 cases of robbery with violence were registered against 58 cases registered in 2015 representing a 24.1 percent decrease while only four cases of burglary were registered against 25 cases in 2015, representing 84 percent decrease.
“Due to good relationship and trust the public has been giving police tip-offs, hence combating crime; notwithstanding that, community policing structures have also helped a lot because of the patrols and crime prevention meetings they conduct.”
Ngwira noted that despite a decrease in crime rate, defilement incidents were still on increase.
The district recorded 48 cases of defilement in 2016 up from 41 in 2015.
“We believe people are now coming forth reporting defilement cases due to crime prevention meetings we have that have enlightened them. In the long term it is therefore expected that these defilement cases will drop. We thank the general public for the support it renders,” added Ngwira.
The increase is partially attributed to a greater willingness among victims to come forward and seek prosecutions.
Police said barriers to reporting still exist, with the fear of not being believed and worries about the court process among the biggest obstacles.
However, changes in police attitudes to sex crimes have helped to build confidence in victims coming forward.