* Up by 78% in Mangochi
* 55 cases recorded in 2019 while 2020 shot to 98
* Machinga registered 160 cases in 2020 compared to 123 in 2019
* Translating into a 30% increase
By Kondwani Magombo & Chimwemwe Mphande, MANA
The number of defilement cases have increased in Mangochi and Machinga as from the 2020 survey.
According to Mangochi Police, the cases in the district have increased by 78.18 percent in the year 2020 as compared to the same criminal act in 2019.
While Machinga Police’s research and planning section recorded 160 cases in 2020 compared to 123 in 2019, which translated into a 30% increase.
A report released on Thursday by Mangochi Police’s deputy public relations officer, Sub-Inspector Amina Tepani-Daudi indicates that the district recorded 55 cases of defilement cases in 2019 while in 2020 the recorded cases of defilement shot to 98.
The increase has been described by the police and other stakeholders as “uncalled for and worrisome”.
Daudi said the increase in sexual offences is due to a number of factors that include deep-rooted cultural practices and beliefs.
“COVID-19 has also been identified as another accelerator of defilement cases as children were not in school for a considerable period of time.”
She expressed concern that the increase has been registered despite efforts by the police and other stakeholders like Social Welfare, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) and World Vision, to ensure safety of the girl child.
YONECO Programs Manager for Mangochi, Funny Chilembo disclosed that rape and defilement cases have always been taking place but they are now being exposed because victims are coming forward to report on them.
“This is a result of the sensitization and campaigns in which we have always engaged the communities to report any such abuses,” he said.
Out of the 2,280 registered cases, the report says 1,047 cases have been completed in court and the perpetrators are serving their jail terms.
The report also indicates a sharp increase in reported robbery cases from 82 cases in 2019 to 129 cases in 2020 representing 57.3% increase.
Mangochi Police have since arrested some of the criminals and recovered some of the stolen items and, according to Daudi, many of them were convicted and are serving stiff sentences in jail.
Overall, a total of 2,280 criminal cases were reported in general in 2020 against 2,172 cases recorded in 2019, representing a 5% crime rate increase.
On road accidents, the 2020 crime report indicates that 55 people died in 185 road accidents in 2019 while in 2020 there were 69 people who lost their lives from 215 road accidents.
This translates to 25.4% in death and 16.2% increase in accidents.
A report by Machinga Police deputy public relations officer, Ngwashape Msume, said the station registered 1,351 criminal cases in 2020 compared to 1,292 cases in 2019 — representing a five% increase.
Msume also said the station has recorded a decrease in road accidents from 114 in 2019 to 84 accidents in 2020 — representing a 26% decrease.
The police in the district are assuring the community of maximum safety and security while at the same time appealing to the communities to continue with community policing activities in order to keep criminals at bay.