Overall crime rate falls in first five months of Duterte presidency

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The volume of crimes in the Philippines dropped 31 percent in the first five months of President Rodrigo Duterte's presidency compared to the same period a year ago, authorities said.

The index crime volume declined to 55,391 in July-November 2016, from 81,064 a year ago, said the Philippine National Police's Crime Research Analysis Center.

"The Philippines is now safer from theft, carnapping, robbery, physical injury, and rape," said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in a statement.

Index crimes are defined by the PNP as crimes against persons such as murder, homicide, physical injury, and rape; as well as crimes against property like robbery, theft, and carnapping.

Crimes against persons dropped 12.25 percent to 25,438 cases, the police said. But this category saw a surge in murders by 51 percent, while it reported drops of 1.6 percent in homicide and 11.65 percent of rape.

Data showed crimes against property posted a significant slide to 42.5 percent in this five-month period.

The PNP report showed the volume of crime decreased by 12.4 percent to 244,637 in July-November 2016 from the same period a year ago.

Andanar urged Filipinos to cooperate with the police in lowering the crime rate further.

"I am calling on the people to continue cooperating with the police to further bring down crime incidents in the country," he added.

News of the drop in the number of crimes comes amid a recent survey of Filipinos, 78 percent of whom expressed fear that they or a family member may become a victim of alleged extrajudicial killings, even as 85 percent expressed satisfaction over the government's war against illegal drugs.