Figures with the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) show that the crime numbers in country has decreased by 312 in 2015, which rounds up at 13 percent. The crime rate in 2014 was recorded at 2,367 whereas in 2015 it has decreased to 2,055.
The trends show that the national crime rate has been decreasing since 2011 when the number of crime was at 3,145. It eventually decreased to 3,026 in 2012 and 2,925 in 2013. The records show a total decrease of 1,090 crime numbers in the last five-year period.
Chief of Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, said the rise in crime rate comes due to the side effect of development.
Citing an example, he said, crime is rising in Trongsa because of the Mangdechu hydropower development. He said the crime rate is also expected to rise in Trashiyangtse because of the Kholongchu hydropower project.
Crime is classified into two categories. First is the penal offence, which is referred to those offences that are listed under the Penal Code of Bhutan, 2004, like murder, rape, battery, larceny, battery, etc.
Second crime category is the non-penal offence, which is referred to those offences that are not listed under the Penal Code of Bhutan, and those that are not a crime. However, the Chief of Police said such crimes are of serious concern, particularly the crime of suicide, missing of person (MoP), fire accident, un-natural deaths, accidental death, etc.
Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that sometime a non-penal offence turns out to be an offence. “Abiding to commit suicide is an offence which is under the penal offence, but suicide, itself, is not an offence while attempt to suicide is also not an offence.”
As for the dzongkhag with the highest crime rate, Thimphu comes in first. Thimphu recorded the highest penal offences, non-penal offences and MV accident, followed by Chukha due to its proximity to the Indian border. Paro comes in third. Gasa is the least crime prone dzongkhag.
Although the recorded crime rate is the highest in Thimphu, however, the number of crime has been decreasing every year. Nevertheless, there are a few dzongkhags where the number of crime has increased. The crime increase trend will be closely observed by RBP to find ways to control it.
Of the many crimes, the seven highest listed crimes are battery, larceny, burglary, possession of controlled substance or illicit transaction of controlled substances, offence against Ku-Sung-Thukten, malicious mischief and auto stripping.
Of all the offences, Thimphu being the capital city with more population, contributed the highest numbers of crime recorded except in offence against Ku-Sung-Thukten in 2015.
Offence against Ku-Sung-Thukten has dropped from 233 cases in 2014 to 127 cases in 2015, whereby Trashigang held the highest record in 2015 out of which 19 cases has been solved.
“This has happened because of the aggressive drive by Special Investigation Team (SIT) against Ku-Sung-Thukten and this is our most serious concern and hope it will further drop down,” the Chief of Police said.
Highlighting serious crimes, like rape, illicit transaction of controlled substance, homicide, kidnapping and offence against Ku-Sung-Thukten, the Chief of Police said, “Such crimes are getting serious, but I am happy to say that the number of crime on such has reduced though there is bit of increase in homicide case.”
Thimphu holds the record for the highest non-penal offences, followed by Chukha and Paro. However, non-penal offence has decreased in the past years, but there is a slight increase in attempt to suicide in 2015 with 24 cases.
Chukha has the second highest in crime rate, MV accident and the highest rate of drug crackdown operation in Phuentsholing, being near the border area.
The drug crackdown operation was initiated by RBP on 2 December 2013 with an objective to cut down the number of drug-related issues. RBP has arrested 1,452 persons in relation to drug issues since the initiative was started.
The highest number of persons arrested was in May with 134 people, whereby the highest arrests of 473 people was made in Chukha.
According to RBP, out of 1,452 persons arrested in offence of illicit trafficking, illegal possession and abuser, 44.08 percent are adult (25 years and above), 48.97 percent are youth (18 to 24 years) and 6.96 percent are minor (below 18 years).
“We cannot charge a person if the abuser is below 12, we just call their parents and warn them,” said Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel.
Of the 1,452 arrested, 1,387 are males and the rest are females. 1,138 of the persons arrested fall in the jobless, farmer, etc., category followed 210 students. There are also other professions, like tourist guides, teachers, armed force personnel, private security personnel, civil servants and private/ corporate employees involved in such cases.
“Though it is a challenging job, we are trying to bring down the number of drug-related crime and it is good to know that decrease can be seen every year and looking forward for the same initiative,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said.
Among the illicit drugs, the highest and widely seized drugs is SP capsule (1, 26,569 capsules) which is known as ‘Sonam Penjor’ in the market. The second highest seized drug is N10 (14, 601 tablets) and then comes marijuana, hashish, relipen, corex (100ml), dendrite, correction fluid and brown sugar.
“Of 1,452 arrested persons, some are under detention, some under trail, some acquitted, some convicted and some under rehabilitation and treatment,” the Chief of Police said.
RBP shared its gratitude to every partner of police in helping them to bring down the crime rate.
Chief of Police said, “I would like to thank all the related stakeholders in making it a success, in bringing down the crime rate. I firstly would like to thank His Majesty, secondly the government and officers for their full support, thirdly the partnership with youths (PYPP and POSYPP), PPPP, FoP and DeSuups and the support from the community and looking forward for the same support.”