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Crime in the Philippines - statistics & facts

The Philippines has a moderately high rate of crime, violence, and terrorism. In 2020, the country was on the bottom five of the order and security index ranking across the Asia Pacific region. Equally, the Philippines was among those with the highest incarceration rate in every hundred thousand inhabitants. Crime rates were particularly high in poorer neighborhoods and areas with larger populations and higher unemployment.

Most common types of crimes

The number of crimes committed in the Philippines significantly dropped in 2020 compared to the previous year, which can be attributed to the lockdown restrictions implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, theft was the most common index or focus crime, followed by rape and physical injury. These were crimes considered serious in nature and occurring regularly and frequently. Alternatively, reported cases of abuses against women and children gradually declined in recent years, along with cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation. Meanwhile, increasing cases of cyberattacks have been noted in recent years as more Filipinos turn to digital services.

War on drugs

After taking office on June 30, 2016, the Philippine president launched an intense crackdown on illegal drug use and drug trafficking. As of 2020, over 62 thousand illegal drugs cases were reported and about 69 thousand individuals were arrested. During this campaign, those involved with the use and selling of drugs were warned to surrender and undergo a recovery and wellness program. However, numerous allegations of extrajudicial killings and police brutality against suspected drug users and traffickers were raised resulting in the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigating these cases of violence, despite the refusal of the Philippine government to cooperate.

Prison system

With high rates of criminality and limited prison capacity, prison facilities across the country have long been faced with overcrowding issues, in which most inmates were serving sentences without conviction. As of May 2021, there were over 117 thousand prisoners in just 40 prison facilities nationwide. The country’s prison situation was also characterized by high death tolls, with the total tally reaching about 1,100 in 2020.

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