Cases of reported theft have increased 23 percent in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the first quarter of 2010, statistics from the Maldives Police Service (MPS) reveal.
While 2059 theft cases were reported in the first quarter of 2012, the figures for the same period in 2011 and 2010 stand at 1762 and 1597 respectively. Compared to 2011, 2012’s first quarter saw a 14 percent increase in reported theft.
Cases of reported assault remain the same, but cases of vandalism has increased 24 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same time period in 2010.
Court buildings and police stations were vandalized and set on fire throughout the Maldives on February 8 following former President Mohamed Nasheed claim that he was deposed in a coup d’état.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News the increase in reported cases may be due to increased awareness of reporting procedures, and the failure to jail convicts.
“A lot of convicts who should be in jail are currently free,” Haneef said.
The Home Ministry in March claimed that only 621 of the country’s 1258 convicts sentenced to jail are currently serving their sentences.
A hundred convicts have been apprehended and sent back to jail since President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan took power in February, reports local media Haveeru.
Speaking to Haveeru, State Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Fayaz said these 100 individuals include offenders released under former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Second Chance Programme set up to reintegrate former inmates into society.
“These people include those released under Second Chance programme and individuals who were sentenced in absentia,” Fayaz told Haveeru.
Current Home Minister Mohamed Jameel said the government intends to shut down the Second Chance Program, alleging that the former administration had used the program “to release unqualified criminals under political influence and without any clear procedure “.
Fayaz told Haveeru that the 100 individuals were sent to jail after being arrested for committing additional offenses. Furthermore, Second Chance inmates were only sent to jail because they had violated their terms of release under the programme, he said.
Fayaz and the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) were not responding at time of press.
Police have stressed that it remains too early in its investigations to say if there was a link between an increase in reported incidents of crime and recent political turmoil in the Maldives.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has continued to demonstrate for early elections. Hundreds have been arrested in protests since February.
Police have confirmed they are also looking into break-ins that occurred Saturday morning at offices belonging to Vice-President designate Waheed Deen and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Interim Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik. Both offices are based in the same building in the capital of Male’.
Politicians and public figures linked to both government-aligned parties and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have raised concerns that the break-in may have been politically motivated crimes. Police urged caution in drawing early conclusions.
The Maldives Police Services’ priorities for 2012 include curbing organized crime, drug use and street violence, and increasing road safety.