Information collected by Television Malta from the Police Force shows that reports of thefts for the last month went down by 25% when compared with March of last year. According to Inspector Fabian Fleri from the Department of Criminal Investigation, this did not just happen because people have changed their routine.
“Our efforts have increased. Just as we have increased the Police presence on the roads because of COVID-19, we have also increased plainclothes police officers on the roads to focus on those places where crimes are taking place. This is part of the reason why the number of thefts have gone down.”
In an analysis of theft reports, Inspector Fleri explained that the directives to the public to stay home have led to a drastic decline in burglaries and theft from vehicles, pick-pocketing and muggings on elderly people who are robbed out in the open. However, hold-ups of shops have remained the same because various categories of shops have remained open. Inspector Fleri said that robberies have increased form three places: rooms in fields, empty summer residences and construction sites.
While the investigations of thefts in March have been closed and people have been arraigned, Inspector Fleri said that the Police are being more watchful over certain places which are the target of criminals. He also gave some recommendations to the public including owners of shops which are closed and properties which are vacant, so that from time to time, these are checked up on.
“Today many shops have CCTV cameras, so make sure they are kept on and are functioning properly especially when there is an electricity surge, because right now the most important thing for shop owners and owners of vacant properties is that the alarm system is working and that it is connected properly to the Police station.”
He appealed to contractors and employees in the construction industry to not leave tools or materials lying around at the workplace. He said that Police investigations including those by the specialised units have adapted to the current circumstances, and that members of the Police Force have taken precautions because of COVID-19 but they have continued doing their jobs.