SWS: Fewer crime victims reported amid rising fears for safety

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippines hit record crime victimization lows in the first six months of the Duterte presidency, but the number of Filipinos who feared for their safety was on the rise, a survey revealed.

In its fourth quarter report released Monday, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that based on a sample of 1,500 respondents, only 4.9 percent of Filipinos said they or someone in their family were victims of crimes in the last six months of 2016.

This marks a record low for quarterly common-crime readings in the country and is 1.9 points lower than the previous record for quarterly crime set in September 2016.

However, when added to previous crime readings, it still puts the annual average at 8.2 percent--1.4 points more than in 2015.

The SWS also noted victimization by common crimes reported in the surveys were considerably higher than crimes actually reported to the police.

Property Crimes hit record low in 2016

The survey also revealed fewer Filipinos were victimized by break-ins, carnappers, and street robberies in the fourth quarter of 2016.

SWS said only 4.5 percent of respondents or an estimated 2.8 million families claimed to have lost property within the past six months.

This is 1.9 points lower than the third quarter rating of 6.4 percent, and puts annual property crimes for 2016 at a record low of 5.5 percent.

Physical crimes, on the other hand, stood at 0.7 percent or 454,000 families-- the same reading as in the third quarter.

These readings come as the Duterte administration builds itself on a strong anti-crime and drug campaign.

In December, the Philippine National Police-Crime Research Analysis Center (PNP-CRAC) reported a drop in the national crime rate in comparison to 2015.

The PNP said the period from July to November 2016 saw a 31.67 percent drop in crime compared to the same period in 2015. According to the PNP, crimes logged fell to 55,391 over the six month period, from 81,064 the previous year.

It also noted crimes against property dropped 42.48 percent in July to November 2016 in comparison to the same period last year. PNP said property crimes fell from 52,075 in July to November 2015 to 29,953 in 2016.

Fears surge

But the decrease in crime has done little to allay Filipinos' fears.

Despite lower crime rates in its last quarter, the SWS survey showed more Filipinos feared for their safety in 2016.

Even as neighborhood fears among Filipinos in the fourth quarter of 2016 were lower than its third quarter, annual readings painted Filipinos as more fearful last year compared to previous years.

Annual readings for fear of drugs, street safety, and robbery, in particular, were on the rise.

In the midst of the President's drug war, fears of drug addicts hit a record high, climbing to 56.3 percent from 48.3 percent in 2015.

Fears of robbery, on the other hand, rose six points from 54.3 percent last year to 60.3 percent in 2016.

Fewer Filipinos also felt safe outside their homes as the percentage of Filipinos wary of going out in the streets at night rose 6 points from 48.3 percent in 2015 to 56.3 percent the following year.

The SWS survey was conducted through face to face interview from December 3 to 6. It has sampling errors of ±3 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent for "Balance Luzon," and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.