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WMSU research shows ZC Barangays support Community Based Policing

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No less than the residents of the community should be empowered to take necessary actions to protect themselves from natural or man-made disasters. The better way to address the unexpected crises than can erupt in the form of natural calamities, crimes and disorder is for the citizenry to be prepared. However, to avoid taking the law into their own hands, the community stakeholders have successfully established partnership with the community barangay police- as revealed in a research conducted by Carl Vincent Madamba, an alumnus of the College of Criminal Justice of Western Mindanao State University. The study is published recently in the WMSU- Research Utilization Publication Information and Dissemination (RUPID) office.

The reactions from the 137 residents and 50 police patrols who were made key respondents of selected barangays in Zamboanga City show a favorableindicationtowards a collective sense ofsocial responsibility among them.  The study explored the barangay policing strategy across five highly urbanized areas in the city and determined the functions of the Philippine National Police (PNP) patrol teams involved in the Community Barangay Policing System (CBPS), their effectiveness and strength in serving target groups and crime prevention.

Amid crucial issues our communities in the country face, the trust and confidence of the people have remained with the police authorities tasked to ensure peace and security measures. CBPS has been used as a tool for crime prevention in different parts of the world and there are compelling reasons why this is so. Accordingly, the reasons are grounded in the history of policing, police research that has taken place over the past quarter century, the changing nature of communities and shifting characteristics of crime, violence and disorder (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). The community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive-problem solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder. It is marked by a move away from centralized police department that practice reactive policing to more decentralized police structures that emphasized proactive problem solving approach where police work in close partnership with the communities they serve (The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence: Literature Review, 2010).

In the Philippines, the PNP is mandated to implement and execute government policy on security and protection of lives and property. The PNP is the largest division considered as the first line of defense against illegal and unacceptable community behavior. Through community policing strategy thus, the patrol officer who is in charge of community policing is often the public’s initial point of contact to combat insurgency and crimes. As an offshoot of the Zamboanga siege in 2013, the local PNP has fortified its community policing strategy putting high priority on surveillance protection and the safety of motorists, pedestrians and structures. Directed patrols are more visible in populated areas, school zones, roadways, intersections, parks and strategic areas where people converge. In addition, mobile and motorcycle patrols are assigned twelve hours a day in two different shifts and the schedules may be changed depending on the exigency.All these factors considered, the study in effect looks at the effectiveness of the CBPS as implemented in Zamboanga City.

The study applied both quantitative and qualitativemethods utilizing a survey questionnaire and an interview schedule as instruments to gather data. Descriptive design was used to describe perceptions of key respondents in 5 barangays purposively selected based on the validated reports on barangay crime rates. The barangays were coded as follows: B1- Boalan, B2- Tetuan, B3-Sinunuc, B4-San Roque, B5- Curuan.Fifty-one and six (51.6%) percent or majorityof the community respondentsare within the age bracket of 30-above while 27% comprise the younger group of 29-below.Sixty four and nine percent (64.9%) are males among the respondents. Across the five barangays the ethnic distribution is as follows: Zamboangueño/Chavacano (59.8%), Bisayan (25.8%), and Tausug (14.4 %).

Based from the survey and interviews across the barangays the findings of the study revealed the following: a. the perceived CBPS functions range from monitoring, to enforcement and crime prevention;b. common forms of involvement of the respondents in the CBPS are monitoring drug syndicates, deterring alcohol and family-related violence and enforcing community by-laws; c. community policing reduced crime indirectly; d. community partnership played a significant role in controlling crime and fear; d. perceived community quality of life is a significant predictor of citizen satisfaction with the police.

Consider the following excerpts from the interview: “Ayaw kong marinig na yung mga lalaki ay nanankit ng mga asawa at mga anak dapat sila mabuluk sa kulungan..” (I don’t want to hear that men hurt their wives and children. They should rot in jail); “Dapat sila hulihin kaagad bago makapanakit” (they should be apprehended immediately before they can hurt…). The respondents are vigilant against cases of domestic violence and husbands battering their wives. They are aware that violence is common in their community.

In addition, most respondents perceive that the root cause of lawlessness is drug addiction and alcoholism. They are convinced that a drug-free community is free from violence. Some also added that the authorities have problems in giving proper interventions to incidents of family violence because these are personal matters and transpire inside domestic homes. The same is true with “kotongs” and “palakasan” system in the community. More reactions from the respondents are as follow: “Kungwalang drugswalangtaongnawawalan ng bait…” (If there is no drugs, no person will lose his sanity…); “Kung sanamarunong mag limit ng kanila ng alakna iniinom..hindi sana sila nakakagawa ng hinditama..” (If they know how to limit their drinking, these drunkards will not be commitingcrimes)…

Many believe that shooting incidents are somehow link to drug addiction and give rise to commission of heinous crimes. These crimes according to the respondents need to be monitored by the police together with the community residents. Constant monitoring especially of the youth is furthermore essential to keep them away from vices. They believe that guiding the youth is the best way to diminish evil in its earliest form.

In a nutshell, there is a need to invest more in the community based policing. As revealed in the study that CBPS is effective in establishing trust and confidence with the police authorities. And in preventing both crimes and disorder, the partnership of the community and the police is highly essential. (PAO/Dr. L.Usman)




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