EDITORIAL: Dealing with crime

Going to root causes of crime will help deal with them, particularly in the long term, including taking measures to properly manage alcohol consumption

The Nepal Police have published some crime statistics for the Kathmandu Valley which shed some light on the nature of crimes, the timings of the day when crimes are most likely to occur, the percentages of crimes on the various days of the week, and the months too, the seasons, the district-wise crime rates, types of crime, etc. As much as 32.11 per cent of crimes were committed during the fiscal 2015-16 between noon and 6 p.m., followed by 28.79 per cent for the next six hours till midnight, with consecutively decreasing rates of crime for the remaining chunks of six hours until noon. Officials attribute the highest crime rate in the afternoon to alcohol.

The reasons for the variations in crime rates day-wise, week-wise and month-wise remain unexplained. But among the seasons, the rainy season (June-July) records a greater crime rate than any other season, which is said to be ideal especially for burglars. What kind of correlation between crime and particular days, months and seasons holds is a matter that needs to be investigated further to provide meaningful conclusions. District-wise, the capital district has recorded the highest crime rate for the period under review with 4,917 crimes out of a total of 28,563 for the whole country. The other nine districts are Sunsari (1,441), Chitwan, Jhapa, Rupandehi, Kaski, Morang, Lalitpur, Banke, and Parsa (706).

The gap in crime rates between Kathmandu and Sunsari, with the second highest rate, is a difference of something like three and a half times. And the gaps between the capital district and the other districts which come towards the bottom of the crime figures are even wider. This stresses the need for focusing more on the most vulnerable districts without lowering guard for the other districts. A number of factors are responsible for the highest crime rate for the Kathmandu district, including its dense population which continues to increase as people pour in from rest of the country and from abroad too, a high unemployment rate, haphazard and unsystematic settlements and lack of records of people, and not only domestic criminally minded elements but international mafias and criminal rings taking root in the capital city, plying their nefarious trade from drug peddling to human trafficking. Other crimes that were committed include social crimes, domestic violence, murders, rapes, frauds, kidnapping, dealing in small arms, robbery and cybercrime. A zero tolerance approach to crime, starting from the political level, should be taken in dealing with crimes of all kinds, including tough action against anybody in authority who may collude with criminals in any way. Adopting the latest technology in dealing with crime, providing more manpower and training, making the law-enforcement authorities more efficient and more accountable, and increasing their cooperation with the public and other agencies which may help in fighting crime are some of the other measures needed to minimize crime in the country, particularly in the most vulnerable districts. Going to the root causes of crime will also help deal with them, particularly in the long term, including taking measures to properly manage alcohol consumption in society. But crime can happen at any time of the 24 hours.

More vigil needed

Ruthless poachers killed a male one-horned rhino at the Chitwan National Park (CNP) two nights ago. After shooting it dead the poachers made off with the horn. It has been nearly three years since there was zero poaching of the endangered rhinos. Sadly, this incident took place. The reasons for it are attributed to the laxity of the security in the community forest of Jagatpur where the rhino was killed as the security forces have been mobilized for the coming local civil polls to be held on May 14. Furthermore, the CNP staffers, army personnel and conservationists are busy transferring some rhinos to the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

It is believed that there are around 100 persons who have been convicted of killing rhinos. So far 159 rhinos have been poached from 2000. As security had been enhanced the zero poaching was achieved as locals too were also involved in the protection of the highly prized rhinos. At present there are 605 rhinos in Chitwan National Park and five have been relocated to the Bardiya National Park. The security forces have launched a search to nab those who were engaged in the tragic poaching of the rhino.