By Sulaiman Juldeh Bah
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) in a press release claimed Sierra Leone, in 2016 alone recorded 61,000 criminal cases.
According to CHRDI’s Abdul Fathoma, the number of criminal cases reported to the police in the year under review was alarming as it shows a massive increase in crime rate as compared to the previous year.
He described the situation as very worrisome for human rights based organizations, law enforcement agencies and the citizens of Sierra Leone as, according to him, it sounds completely astronomical for a country of a population of seven million to have had such a high figure of criminal cases in a single year.
He claimed to have obtained the data from police records during a nationwide research, which he said established number of cases recorded in a year at 61,000.
Fatoma urged the police to do more to reduce crime in the country, adding that, that as a right based organization, they have been working with the Legal Aid Board and other institutions in trying to teach people about the law and how to respect it to avoid committing crimes.
The CHRDI press release states that over 3,362 women and girls across the country have experienced rape, sexual assaults, forceful marriage and human trafficking among others.
It furthered that the Family Support Units (FSU) recorded 11,362 cases in 2016, compared to 10,940 cases in 2015.
“Out of the reported cases, there were 9,135 domestic violence cases. In comparison, the figures for 2015 were domestic violence 8,043 cases, sexual penetration 2,398 cases and 103 cases of rape,” the release states.
The release noted that the current police crime report covers the various types of violence committed against women in 2016, adding that violence against women is still incontrovertibly widespread in Sierra Leone.
Out of the 61,188 criminal cases recorded by the police nationwide, CHRDI explained that Western Area recorded a combined increase of 1,534 in 2015 of 4.3% increase.
Freetown east recorded a slight decrease 0.77%, while Freetown west a significant increase of 10.14%.
The release also highlighted that the northern region recorded a combined increase of 452 (9,873 to 9421), giving a percentage increase of 4.58%.
Western region recorded a 31.71% increase, while north east region recorded a significant decrease of 34.72%; south eastern region recorded a reduction of 15.32% of crimes reported and eastern region recorded an increase of 8.07 crimes recorded.
Meanwhile, the release maintained that gender based violence against women and girls including all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape is a major human rights violation in the country and condemned the police for failing to control all forms of crimes including murder, sexual violence and others.