Cops warn public against petty thieves

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Monday, December 9, 2013

POLICE officials advised the public not to wear expensive jewelry or bring gadgets when going to church or mall during the holidays to avoid attracting the attention of robbers.

As more people flock to churches to celebrate the Christmas season, a police official warned churchgoers to be vigilant against snatchers and other criminals who may take advantage of the crowd.

Supt. Petronelli Baldebrin, chief of the Mandaue City Police Office, advised churchgoers to refrain from wearing jewelry and bringing expensive gadgets.Families should also leave someone to guard the house while they are away, or ask the neighbor to look after the house.

Baldebrin said burglaries are usually reported during the Misa de Gallo or the nine midnight masses leading to Christmas.

He said police personnel will be deployed in churches during midnight or dawn masses, which will start on Dec. 16.

The St. Joseph National Shrine, he said, will get the most number of police personnel given the number of parishioners who go there.

Baldebrin also reminded churchgoers to unplug their appliances before leaving to prevent fire.

At the Police Regional Office 7, Supt. Paul Labra II of the Regional Intelligence Division admitted having difficulty identifying criminal elements that arrive in Cebu during the Christmas season since most groups are from other provinces.

Though Labra did not specify what province these criminal elements come from, he urged the public to be vigilant.

He added that the most common crimes committed in the month of December are robbery and hold-up.

“This has usually been the pattern ever since, as what we observed in the previous years,” added Labra.

He said that one way of preventing crimes is for the people to always be careful.

Like Baldebrin, Labra advised the public not to wear or bring expensive items like jewelry and gadgets.

Labra said the public may not be able to distinguish between pickpockets and robbers, so he advised the people to be aware of their modus operandi.

“One common thing is that they would bring a large bag or newspaper that they can use to cover their hand when they take things, especially inside the jeepneys,” he said.

Labra said they monitored three small-time robbery groups that arrived in Cebu from Ormoc City recently.

He said that because of the report, more policemen were deployed in crowded areas such as malls and night markets.

He said that police visibility has been effective in driving away criminal elements.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 09, 2013.

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