East Timor: Recorded crimes up 13 pct in 2017; 44 pct committed in Dili - report

The crimes most recorded in East Timor in 2017 were assault, spousal abuse, minor injury and threats, with 44% of the total being committed in Dili, according to official figures released on Thursday that showed a 13% rise of the total number of cases

Dili – According to the annual report on crime in East Timor from the Directorate-General of Statistics, last year a total of 4,504 “criminal incidents” were recorded throughout the country, or an average of 12 a day.

The capital, Dili, had the highest number of cases, at 1,980, representing 44% of the total. The Oecusse-Ambeno region had the second-highest number of cases, at 434 or 9.6%.

The national total represents a 13% increase on 2016’s 4,002 recorded crimes, but a more than 40% increase on 2015, when 3,200 crimes were recorded, according to the document.

Among the crimes, the largest single number, at 1,865, was of “simple assault”. There were 390 recorded cases of “spousal abuse”, or more than one a day.

Authorities recorded 2,455 crime victims in total, of which over 1,000 were in Dili – mostly aged between 20 and 29.

Police investigated 2,429 suspects, the largest age group being 20 to 29, at 972.

They were not able to identify an offender or a suspect in 941 cases, while 1,326 were passed to prosecutors.

At the end of 2017, Dili’s main jail held 549 in detention, according to the report. Most were serving time for murder, child molestation or sexual assault.

The report also showed the impact of rising crime on the country’s limited judicial resources. At the end of 2017, Dili’s district court (the largest of four in the country) had 2,417 criminal cases and 658 civil cases pending.

East Timor’s national police force, meanwhile, had a total of 4,002 officers, of which 3,377 were men and 625 women.

The district courts had 31 judges (three more than the previous year): 16 in Dili, seven in Baucau and Suai, and one in Oecusse.