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4,942 youth arrested in the last five years 

With crimes reported to police increased from 2,926 in 2013 to 4,081 in 2017, the country has seen about 40 percent increase in crime, according to the Royal Bhutan Police’s (RBP) crime statistics 2017.

The crime rate increased by 94 percent to 2017 from 2016, taking the number of reported crime to 4,081 last year from 2,093 in 2016.

Thimphu alone saw an increased crime rate of about 161 percent, an increase from 921 in 2016 to 2,409 in 2017.

The report also stated that about 41 percent of the total crime reported to police in 2017 happened in Thimphu.

With more than 1,863 offences recorded, the offence against property is the most reported crime last year. More than 1,379 cases of larceny, robbery, armed robbery and related offences were reported in 2017.

Although criminal offences decreased to 837 in 2014 from 1,331 in 2013, 845 in 2015 and 888 in 2016, it increased in 2017.

There are 1,143 reported offences against persons with 1,032 assault and battery offences, 20 homicide, two kidnapping and other related cases, 77 sexual offences and 12 offences against infant, child, mentally disabled and incompetent person in 2017.

The year also saw 69 reported commercial crime, fraud and corruption offences.

Of the 343 offences against state and public order, 148 are against cultural and national heritage in 2017. There are also 63 reported offences related to public order and tranquillity.

The report stated that 555 people were arrested in connection with narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and substance abuse last year, an increase of about 75 percent from 2016.

While 245 people were arrested for offences of substance abuse, 200 were arrested for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, 58 for illegal possession of cannabis and its derivatives, 41 for illegal trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives and 11 for illegal possession of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Meanwhile, more than 4,942 youth (people below 24 years) were arrested in connection with drugs, alcohol and other crimes in the last five years, records maintained by the RBP stated. It includes 154 suicide cases.

The figure, however, contradicts with the final report of the 11th Plan that the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) published last month, which stated that youth-related crime reduced from 371 in 2013 to 81 in 2017.

Reports with RBP also indicated that the number of youth arrested for coming in conflict with law increased by more than double in the last five years. It was reported that while 754 youth were arrested for coming in conflict with the law in 2013, the number increased to 1,563 in 2017.

While the GNHC report states that youth arrested for substance abuse increased from 334 in 2013 to 972 in 2017, records maintained by police stated that 443 youth were arrested in connection with drugs and alcohol in 2013 and the number increased to 897 in 2017.

The RBP report Kuensel availed also stated that while 1,922 youth were arrested for drugs, 2,059 youth, the maximum number, were arrested for committing other crimes. In cases involving drugs, 106 are female.

Although the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) did not categorise what other crimes meant, it was learnt that youth were arrested for larcenies, robberies, assaults, batteries and burglaries.

The report also stated that 154 youth, 87 male and 67 female, committed suicide in the last five years and 37 youth attempted suicide.

The GNHC report also stated that victimisation rates have doubled from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 7.5 percent in 2015.

It also stated that proportion of people who are victims of crimes in rural areas has increased from 3.3 percent in 2010 to 6.54 percent in 2015 and in urban areas, it increased from 4.2 percent ot 10.6 percent.

Both the RBP and GNHC reports stated that some crimes are not reported, which sociologists refer to as ‘dark figure of crime.’

Tashi Dema

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