Fiji recorded a 5% increase in its overall crime rate in August compared to the same period last year, with 1,524 reported incidents.
The Western, Eastern, and Northern Divisions saw increases in crime, while the Southern and Central Divisions saw decreases. However, there were positive trends in other key performance indicators (KPIs) with serious crime decreased by 20%, crimes against women reduced by 11%, and crimes against children decreased by 38%.
There was a significant 26% increase in illicit drug cases, with 147 cases related to unlawful possession of drugs and 14 cases related to unlawful cultivation. Most cases involved marijuana, while 11% were related to methamphetamine.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew attributed the increase in drug cases to special joint operations with the Fiji Detector Dog Unit and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service. Further operations are planned ahead of the festive season to target drug-related activities.
While overall serious crime decreased, there were increases in aggravated burglary, acts with intent to commit rape, and theft of motor vehicles. Common crimes during August included theft, burglary, assault, unlawful possession of illicit drugs, and property damage. Some theft cases involved multiple counts, mainly related to cash withdrawals and the use of bank cards for personal gain.
Crimes against women decreased by 11%, but domestic violence remained a significant issue, with 84% of reports being assault-related.
Chew acknowledged that despite a positive trend of consistently lower overall crime cases from January to June 2023 compared to the five-year average, there is a continued need to address opportunistic crimes. These efforts he says call for ongoing and proactive community policing initiatives across all five divisions to maintain and enhance public safety.