(Photo courtesy of NCRPO-PIO Facebook)

MANILA – Increased mobility due to relaxed restrictions under Alert Level 1 may have contributed to the rise of index crimes like theft.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said more people going out means they and establishments should be more alert. He also assured police visibility.

Siguro syempre dahil naglabasan na ‘yung mga tao. Dito sa mga malalapit sa mga mall, sa mga palengke, medyo dumami na naman ‘yung mga mandurukot natin diyan (More people are able to go outdoors. In malls, wet markets, there is a rise in the number of pickpockets there),’’ Año said.

Index crimes include murder, homicide, physical injury and rape, and crimes against property, such as robbery, theft, carnapping/carjacking and cattle rustling.

Metro Manila and 48 other areas will remain under the most lenient Alert Level 1 until April 15, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

Under Alert Level 1, movement of persons, regardless of age and comorbidities, is allowed, but with restrictions on crowded and closed spaces and close contact (3Cs) settings.

Despite the loosening of the health protocols, Año exhorted the public to always be alert and wary of their surroundings, especially when in crowded places, to avoid getting victimized by thieves.

Early this year, the PNP reported crime incidents in the National Capital Region decreased by approximately 17 percent from November 2021 to January 2022.

Senatorial candidate and former PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar supports the Alert Level 1 declaration to open up economic activities.

He said in a statement on Sunday that businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic for two years now can start their recovery efforts but reminded the public to observe the minimum health standards and avail of vaccines to prevent another surge of cases. (PNA)