Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Empty denial further dents crime stats credibility, says Pua

August 29, 2012
Pua said that non-index crime has risen sharply in recent years, as was alleged in the anonymous letter. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — A mere denial to an allegation of crime data manipulation suggests the police lack credible data with which to disprove the claim, DAP lawmaker Tony Pua said today.
“If there is indeed no manipulation of data as claimed by PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police), how else can they explain the shockingly divergent trends between index and non-index crime?” asked Pua.
Yesterday, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan expressed a similar view, saying that authorities needed to refute the allegation with objective data in order to head off public speculation.
Last week, an anonymous letter, purportedly written by a policeman who penned his name as Sumun Osram, had alleged that crime cases were being methodically shifted from “index” crime into “non-index” offences that were not registered as part of the official statistics presented by Putrajaya’s efficiency unit PEMANDU.
In Malaysia, the police divide crime into two categories, index and non-index — the former defined as crime that is reported with sufficient regularity and significance to be a meaningful indicator of the crime situation while the latter is regarded as minor in nature.
Yesterday, the police dismissed the claim as “erroneous”, and maintained that both sets of data were taken into account for its crime statistics. It added that “overall crime (Index + Non-Index) has in fact reduced in 2010, 2011 and 2012”.
Pua said today, however, that there was a “significant drop in index crime” but that this was accompanied by “drastic increase in non-index crime” from 2007 to 2011, which appeared to corroborate the anonymous letter.
Using crime statistics provided by the police, Pua said that while index crime had dropped 24.7 per cent from 2007 to 2011, non-index crime has increased 68.7 per cent over the same period.
“What is even more glaring is the fact that ‘non-index crime’ is increasing annually as a proportion of total crime since 2007 based on PDRM data,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances, if the crime situation in the country has improved as much as boasted by the authorities, then both index and non-index criminal cases should show a declining trend,” Pua said.
Pua also pointed to the significant drop in crime-fighting performance “after non-index crime is taken into account” as “strong evidence of manipulation”.
He said Putrajaya had previously “boasted its achievement of 15.4 per cent, 11.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent reduction in the crime index over 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively”, based on index crime alone.
But PDRM yesterday said that the combined index and non-index crime has dropped 7 per cent, 9 per cent and 5.3 per cent in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The data did not, however, assuage Pua.
“While the total index and non-index crime cases based on PDRM data has indeed dropped over the past 2-3 years, it appears that the data has been systematically manipulated to present an inflated over-achievement under the Najib administration,” said Pua.
Last month, PEMANDU defended itself from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seemed to contradict the image painted by its crime statistics.
The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.
PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA (national key results areas) director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.
The agency had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.

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