The Sectoral Role and Importance of Crime Prevention Councils

Updated: Apr 21

By: Siegfred E Nebres and Rommel K Manwong

Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Criminology (PG Dip AC)


ABSTRACT


This article provides the role of different sectors on crime prevention and control. The information stated herein are taken from informative facts through open sources with valid references and the commentaries made therein are stated not to affect current government operations but only for the purpose of this study.


KEYWORDS: Crime Prevention, National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), National Crime Prevention Council, Municipal/ Barangay Crime Prevention Council, Student Crime Prevention Council/Committee.


Introduction


The darkness brought about by criminalities gave the government the challenge to acquire the light of public security and peace and order. The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) established on its framework the role of the communities in crime prevention. The framework is well-thought-out by the government as a participative role of the communities to assist in the prevention and control of the crime threats. The focused was relied upon the identification, formulation, recommendation of certain actions which may interpose as an effective tool to such advocacies.


In this current time, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) facilitated the creation of Crime Prevention Councils to the communities. Along the position of the national government, the facilitation was intended to work with the central position of the authority. The design was purposely devoted to driven the roads of community crime prevention efforts.


Historically, Crime Prevention Councils were technically present during the year 1990’s upon enactment of Local Government Code of 1991 and the enactment of Republic Act No 6975 creating a newly organized Philippine National Police and the formation of the National Police Commission.


The priority was to formulate and organize Crime Prevention Councils into the national, city or municipality and barangay levels and to involve the participation of independent school organizations for the organization of campus-based Student Crime Prevention Council. These priorities were partly set aside by the government as the efforts was integrally focused on the drive of Duterte’s Administration in the fight against illegal drugs.


National Crime Prevention Council


The policy organization of the Crime Prevention Council on the national level is significantly essential to eliminate or reduce the commission of crimes in the country. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) moved towards collating and identifying the common offenses committed by offenders, and strategizing on the control of syndicated or organized crimes. With such council’s function, the activities of criminal syndicates and organized crime groups could be partially or wholly paralyzed.


The concerns of the international community about the peace and order situation in the country are one among the common grounds why businessmen and investors would have the second thoughts to sustain or introduce new financial capability projects. It is a given fact that we have a crime problem in this country. Most metropolis are dragged into the issue of crime problems. The anti-drug campaign of the government brought the country into controversies with the drug war. But drug syndicates and other organized crimes are not the only crime problem the country is confronting. There are many cases involving crimes committed by minor offenders classified as children in conflict with the law; crimes committed to escape hunger of the poor such as robberies, shoplifting, pickpockets and other petty crimes; crimes to constitute of consuming people’s lives brought about lustful motives such as sexual assaults and to the extreme crime of rape and murder.


On the policy organization at the internal stage, the NCPC is directed to distinguish and evaluate the best practices to deal with ordinary and syndicated crimes. The council, at their own level, can create anti- crime measures and recommend appropriations to necessitate and carry out their mandated objectives.


But to be more effective, the delivery of programs should be through the formulation of greater policies involving the city, municipality and the barangay levels on the best practices introduced at the national level with a whole nation common interest.


City/Municipal Crime Prevention Council


The Local Government Units (LGUs) under the purview of the city or municipality are duly mandated by law to act in public service and as a provider of public utilities. Crime prevention measures are conducted within the public service sector in the LGUs. Way back the 90’s, the Crime Prevention Councils shows parallel structure and mandate to the Anti-Drug Abuse Councils back then.


For comparison purposes, the Anti-Drug Abuse Council then was prioritized. It was created by operation of law to identify, monitor and implement after-care to mild/low drug dependents residing within their area of responsibilities. On the other hand, the Crime Prevention Council in recent years seem to be taken for granted as mainly for compliance to DILG Circulars. Yet, we cannot set aside the role of the Crime Prevention Council because this entity is focused on determining and analyzing crime situations with conclusive and recommendatory actions.


Although there are budgetary limitations and appropriations, the Crime Prevention Council – its concept, creation and organization, remains to be one best practice in the fight against crimes in the localities. It assures the citizenry the calling of public service delegated by the Local Government Code.


Barangay Crime Prevention Council


The barangay is the basic political unit and the most critical entity of the government. It has supervision and direct responsibility to the people. In the same manner of the city and municipal governments, the barangay being a public corporation with dual personae - to act within public service, and to provide public utilities, required to have the crime prevention council.


In the past, among the challenges faced by the barangay government is that the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) have to be compliant with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) despite budget cutoffs and shortcomings. But even then, a barangay exercises responsibility limited only to low and mild cases and were allowed to install blockage within and conduct checkpoints in their area of responsibilities.


Now, the Barangay Crime Prevention Council (BCPC) is directed mainly on drug prevention and control. Other crimes seemed to be secondary. The heaviest and gravest dilemma of the barangay units remained with the limitation of appropriations and compliance to the budgetary limitations set forth by the Local Government Code. Due to this constraint, the overall goal of crime prevention seemingly impossible to achieve. This is something that the government should give attention to, at the barangay level, considering that, in reality, the barangay is the first hand to act on all concerns by its constituents.


The barangay is empowered to exercise policing, as it is the front-line unit of the government to intervene with domestic violence and crimes. Members of the Philippine National Police are just secondary to deal with cases involving domestic violence which is why the barangay is more apt in policing and keeping the peace on certain localities. In addition, a barangay captain can issue a Barangay Protection Order (BPO) on which the mayor or governor is not empowered. Thus, the barangay government is not only exercising executive and legislative function but also quasi-judicial duties and authorities.


In the case of barangay planning for crime prevention, the concept of the Barangay Crime Prevention Council is essential to its operations. With the presence of the council, the barangay can quickly remedy the possibility of crimes not only illegal drugs, but also including other crimes such as domestic violence.


Student Crime Prevention Council/ Committee


Upon the implementation and organization of Crime Prevention Councils in the community, since the 90s, the National Police Commission widened the spread of campus-based activities involving the student and the youth sector in anti-crime campaign. The Student Crime Prevention Council (SCPC), as it was firstly known, was a duly recognized independent student organization operating within school campuses, universities and colleges. The primary purpose was to identify actual infractions committed by students within the campus. This was secondary to the measures on which the council can recommend to school administrators about crimes committed on campus.


However, in 2006, a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), the Department of Education (DEPed) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The said MOU directed all schools, universities and colleges, the creation of Student Crime Prevention Committee (SCPC) to be headed by the President of Student Supreme Government with Presidents of other school organizations as members. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding was to intensify the fight against crimes by dealing with, not only schools infractions committed inside the school, but also including crimes violative to the Revised Penal Code and other special laws. Again, the council is empowered with recommendatory measures or actions.


Technically speaking, the concept is good but not all schools, universities and colleges are complying with said Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and other memoranda issued by either CHED or DEPed.


Conclusion


The participative role of the Crime Prevention Councils among all levels of government, from local to national, is very important and a major key to effective governance. Crime profiling, criminal identification and evaluation, plus the recommendatory measures made by the council, should not be taken out of context and therefore should not be taken for granted in public policy. Communities are a government of laws. The so-called policies are always the immediate considerations in government operations. As it has been said in principle and practice, “Republicae et sit finis” - Public policy and necessity require in the interest of the state.


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