Malawi Police Service (MPS) has reported an increase in both crime and road traffic accidents from January to November this year.
Compared to the same period last year, crime has increased by 4.8 percent while road accidents recorded a 105.5 percent increase, according to information police provided during their end-of-year parties.
In his end-of-year message, Acting Inspector General (IG) Duncan Mwapasa said the statistics indicate a mixed picture of successes and challenges encountered by the service.
The statistics show that from January 1 to November 30 2019, 37 919 crime cases were reported compared to 36 193 cases reported during the same period last year.
In terms of road accidents, 9 326 were recorded, up from 4 539 cases in 2018. However, the number of fatal road accidents slightly dropped from 996 to 975, representing 2.1 percent, with the number of people killed in road accidents reducing from 1 163 to 1 141 cases or 1.9 percent.
The statistics show that rising reported cases of crime include those of murder, robbery, rape, defilement, theft of motor vehicles and general theft as well as break-ins.
On cases of murder, 597 were reported, up from 475 representing 25.7 percent rise while robbery cases increased from 1 570 to 1 591, representing 1.3 percent.
During the same period, break-in cases have increased to 8 172 from 7 693 cases, representing a 6.2 percent increase. Rape cases have also increased by 11.9 percent, from 177 to 198 while cases of defilement have also increased from 1 426 to 1 618, representing 13.5 percent rise.
Theft of motor vehicles increased from 52 to 63, representing a 21.2 percent rise while on the other hand general theft slightly increased from 8 043 to 8 064 cases, representing a 0.3 percent increase.
In his message, Mwapasa said the police will strive to ensure that Malawians are more protected in the New Year 2020 through enhanced security measures.
He said: “It is sad that while the service continues to increase its visibility in the streets, criminals are targeting locations where in some instances, innocent family members have been raped.
“We assure all Malawians that during 2020, the service will be more vigilant in ensuring that Malawians feel safe whilst in their homes.”
Mwapasa also bemoaned the high number of road accidents as worrisome, saying most of the accidents could have been avoided if drivers were mindful of their own safety and that of other road users.
In an interview on Friday during an end-of-year party, Commissioner of Police for the Southern Region, Sladge Yousuf, said the region has reported an increase of 2.5 percent in crime cases, from 10 709 to 10 966 while on road accidents, there was a 6.7 percent increase from 3 305 to 3 767 cases.
He said: “Despite the statistics, we are still doing well as a region and we will continue to exert pressure to ensure crime and criminals are kept at bay.”
Northern Region commissioner of Police Hannings Moltha on Friday said they recorded 4 954 cases against 4 471, representing a 9.7 increase last year while in terms of road accidents there was a 61 percent increase from 308 to 496 cases.
In recent times, the police have come under fire for failing to maintain public order owing to loss of public trust in the service, especially during demonstrations in the aftermath of the May 21 Tripartite Elections. In contrast, Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers stepped in to maintain peace in such situations.