CRIME volume in the region has increased, the Cordillera police reported during the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting recently.

The Police Regional Office-Cordillera reported there is an increase of 540 crime incidents in January to May compared to the same period last year.

Record shows there were 8,670 cases this year more than the 8,130 cases last year.

Of the number, 4,257 are index crimes while the other 4,413 are non-index crimes.

Index crimes, as defined by the Philippine National Police (PNP), involve crimes against persons such as murder, homicide, physical injury and rape, and crimes against property such as robbery, theft, carnapping/carjacking and cattle rustling.

Non-index crimes, on the other hand, are violations of special laws such as illegal logging or local ordinances.

The significant increase was mainly contributed by the upsurge in the crime volume in Baguio City and Abra which had an increase of 280 and 256 cases, respectively.

Baguio City had the most number of cases at 4,273; Benguet had 2,070; Kalinga had 756; Abra had 749; Mt. Province had 396; Ifugao had 330; while Apayao had 96.

By crimes, most cases are physical injury recording 1,778; followed by 1,596 cases of theft; 442 robbery; 190 carnapping; 135 rape; 70 homicide; 36 murder; and 10 cattle rustling.

Rape cases have increased by 43 cases from only 92 cases last year.

This alarmed Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan saying sexual violence is becoming prevalent.

He even noted it is disturbing how incest rape is now very common.

"This says something about the values that we have especially in the family," he said.

"Some of the rape cases happen within the family (some children are sexually assaulted by their fathers or step-fathers) and this is alarming," he stressed.

While there are operations on the part of the authorities like the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Bureau of Investigation, there should be actions within the family and even the church relevant to values formation.

As much as we want to promote character cities, provinces or region, he emphasized the values of the people will somehow manifest in the number of crime incidents.

Therefore crime prevention should be a priority over crime solution.

PRO-COR reported crime clearance efficiency is at 76.83 percent while the crime solution efficiency is at 71.31 percent.

Aside from the operations of the PNP, it is currently partnering with the community through the Barangay Defense System; Neighborhood Watch System; Barangay Peacekeeping operations; Moving the Youth towards Peace and Development initiative; and the School Resource Officer Program among others which promotes participation from the people in the different communities and engages them to take part in the prevention and solution of crimes in their respective areas.