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Malawi Reduces Crime Rate, Says Police Spokesman

At least 19 people were killed and dozens, including children, were injured after police used live ammunition during demonstrations over bad governance, fuel shortages and human rights abuses in various cities, July 22, 2011.
Malawi’s police spokesman says the nation’s overall crime rate has gone down sharply despite public concerns that there has been an upsurge in certain violent crimes.

Davie Chingwalu says the police have stepped up efforts to prevent violent criminals from undermining the stability of the country.

“I can admit that two months ago there was some sort of violent crime in cases like murder and armed robbery,” Chingwalu said. “But, we strategized and increased the police presence and intensified our investigations.”

“The crime has gone down because we have managed to arrest dangerous criminals,” he said. “We have even confiscated some firearms, which these robbers were using.”

Even so, some Malawians say they are experiencing an increase in armed robberies since President Joyce Banda’s new administration reversed the shoot-to-kill policy for police. Banda and human rights groups said the policy violated the rights of suspects and the legal premise of innocent until proven guilty.

The policy allowed police to shoot-to-kill suspects caught in the commission of a crime.

But, police spokesman Chingwalu denied the reversal of the shoot-to-kill policy is to blame for the violent crimes.

“The Police Act section 44 empowers police officers to use firearms and on the same section, it outlines [that] firearms can be used. Nobody can just come up and say stop shooting criminals, we cannot take him seriously,” Chingwalu said.

He said those blaming the reversal of the shoot-to-kill policy are wrong.
He also said the police seek cooperation from the public to further reduce the crime rate in the country.

“We have put security measures in place and we have come full throttle to protect the citizens at all cost. We depend much on the public because these are the people that inform us about criminals and crime,” said Chingwalu.
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