Daylight robberies on the rise, even temple not spared

Theft and burglary are on the rise with even places of religious worship not being spared. Recently, the Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya was robbed in broad daylight.

The suspect had reportedly walked casually into the chief incumbent’s room and walked out with Rs.860, 000.

The chief incumbent Rajamaha Viharaya Urulavathethe Dhammarakkitha Thera was on a visit to Thailand with President Maithripala Sirisena.

Mahiyangana Chief Inspector Tissa Kumara said the suspect had taken cash, camera and a small clock. Police found the monk’s bank book and camera pouch lying on the floor.

The theft had taken place between 5.30 and 6 p.m. when the vihara monks were at a discussion in the meeting room close by.
The inspector said around 20 devotees had gathered for the ‘dayaka sabha’ discussion.

Last week, a robber had entered a house in Ja-ela in broad daylight and taken away Rs. 82,000, jewelllery and other items including three wrist watches, a laptop and bottles of whiskey. Ja-ela police had reportedly told the household members the day the robbery occurred to abandon hopes of getting back the stolen items.

According to the police Grave Crime Abstract Report of 2014, 15,050 house breaking thefts have been recorded for the year. Of this 6115 investigations are pending while only 1004 have been convicted.

Robberies also have escalated according to police statistics with 4235 cases being recorded for 2014, with 2593 investigations still pending. The number of convictions are as low as 190.

Critics in the past attributed the malady to the absence of an independent law enforcing agency in the country. But with setting up of the police commission will the scenario change?

Reired, DIG Crimes, H.M.G.B.Kotakadeniya said that the inaction of the police for the past ten years or more has contributed to the present problem.

He said that the police service was weak and did not function effectively. “They do not prevent crime nor do they solve them,” he said.

He attributed the problem to not appointing the right person to the right position and favouritism.

Meanwhile Police Commission chairman Prof. Siri Hettige who regularly expressed his views on rising crime and the reasons behind said he and his team were examining the situation and working on a future plan to bring down the crime rate.

Prof. Hettige in his capacity as a university don had identified loopholes in the judicial system for the malady and also highlighted inefficiencies in enforcement authorities in investigating crimes.

He had also expressed reservations on the rehabilitation process pointing out that the system was not geared to effectively rehabilitate incarcerated people but allowed them to return to crime.

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