Increasing of the efficiency of work in the fight against crime is imperative; Artur Davtyan's interview

22 thousand 551 cases of crime were reported during the last year in the Republic of Armenia, which is 11.4% more than in 2017. During the interview with "Armenpress" the RA Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan mentions that 3755 or 16.6% of the crimes have been committed in previous years, including corruption crimes, which were revealed in 2018. Such a description of crime progress has been influenced by both positive and negative factors. The RA Prosecutor General presented the positive and negative factors, touched upon to the necessary steps for increasing the efficiency of the fight against crime.

 

Mr. Davtyan, from the point of view of the main crime situation and dynamics, what was 2018 like and what factors influenced that criminal progress?

 

During 2018 22551 criminal cases were reported in the country, which is more with 2267 cases or 11.4% than the number of reported cases compared with the same period of the previous year (20284).

 

3755 cases or 16.6% have been committed in previous years, including corruption crimes, which were revealed during 2018 and have been reflected in the statistic data of criminal cases of this year. This is one of the main reasons for the increase of cases of crimes in 2018.

 

Such a description of crime progress has been influenced by both positive and negative factors. We can point out the followings as positive factors:

 

First of all, the increase of the number of reported crimes was mainly due to the increase of the number of highly latent feature of corruption cases, such as the theft of state and public property, taking bribery, giving bribery, bribery mediation by using official position. Thus, during 2018 the number of cases of theft of state and public property has increased by 362 cases or 3.8 times (130-492), cases of taking, giving and bribery mediation by 298 cases or 2.8 times (163-461), and the number of cases of abuse of office and official position increased by 90 or 60% /150-240/.

 

And the other factor is that number of crimes of greatest public danger, such as murder decreased: the number of murders reported in 2018 decreased by 14 or 28.6% (49-35) compared with the same period of last year /and compared with the same period of 2016, cases of intentional damage to health by 26 or 42.6% (61-35) by 90 or 8.1% (1113-1023). The crimes against human beings decreased by 69 or 1.4% (4868-4799).

 

I can emphasize the following as negative factors.

 

First of all, it is worrying that negative dynamic was recorded in the cases of theft of personal property; the increase was 1453 cases or 19.5% (7433-8886). In particular, in 2018 compared with the previous year, the number of robbery increased by 56 cases or by 30.6% (183-239), the number of theft increased by 1135 or 19%, apartment theft increased by 549 cases or by 61.8% (889-1438).

 

Second, the analysis proves that the increasing number of crimes is also conditioned by the increase of the number of traffic crimes. Thus, the number of such cases increased in 2018 compared with the same period of the year, by 311 or 32% (972-1283), including the number of deaths increased by 44 or 25% (176-220), which is very alarming.

 

And what is the structural picture of crime according to the level of danger of crimes?

 

It should be stated that during 2018 the number of medium-gravity and grave crimes has increased significantly. The cases of medium-gravity crimes increased by 33.7% (5012-5700) compared with the same period of the previous year and the cases of grave crimes increased by 909 or 33.3% (2729-3638). Cases of particularly grave crime increased by 60 or 36.6% (164-224). The number of not very grave crimes decreased by 390% or about 3.2% which is more than half of the total crimes.

 

The increase of particularly grave crimes was mainly conditioned by the increase of the detection of particularly grave crimes of corrupt, which is a positive dynamic.

 

And the increase of grave crimes was mainly conditioned by the increase of the number of grave crimes of corruption and apartment theft. The first, of course, proves the positive dynamics, the second is worrying.

 

The dynamics of medium and not very grave crimes, in addition to the progress of certain crimes, have been significantly conditioned by the changes in the practice of the RA Prosecutor's Office of classifying the cases of vehicle theft as the most dangerous type of theft. In the result, the above-mentioned cases, which were previously classified as not very grave crimes, are also classified as medium-gravity crimes. That is to say, in this case, the progress is conditioned by changes in the registration process, as well as by the increase of citizens' initiative in cases of private charges.

 

Mr. Davtyan, there is a significant increase in the number of reported crimes. Doesn't this prove the worsening of the criminogenic situation in the republic?

 

The situation cannot be assessed so, because our research and analysis show that the increase of the number of crimes is mainly the result of crime detection, identification, improvement of accounting processes, increase of citizens' initiative. To achieve such a result, it is enough, for example, to combine the indicators of latent and non-latent crimes and to take into account the changes that have taken place in the process of accounting of crimes. Pay attention, according to the statistics I have presented, there is an increase, mainly due to the new identification of crimes committed in previous years, but not detected. According to the recording procedure, if such crimes are reported in the indicators of the highly latent crimes, like corruption and drug trafficking it is accepted all over the world that there is no question of a worsening criminogenic state of the country.

 

Let me give you a simple example to make it clearer. If in the last 10 years (2007-2017)  total number of crimes in our country increase 2.4 times (8428-20285), the crimes committed with the use of firearms have decreased 2 times (106-52), the murders - about 30% /69 -49/, thefts about 40% /76-46/, in fact, there was a decrease in the number of attempted murders, intentional infliction of grave damage to health, and the number of cases of bribery, instead, increased 23 times /7-163/, then it is impossible to talk about the worsening of the criminogenic situation in the country.

 

On the other hand, the legal reforms in the recording process had a significant impact on the indicators. For example, before 2009, the cases of specific charges were filed as not crimes, which are usually not grave crimes and constitute a large number of crimes. It is not a secret that in the past there was a vicious practice of the police hiding cases in order to "improve statistics", for which many police officers were entailed responsibility. Such actions have decreased very much. Besides, the professional and technical capabilities of the criminal prosecution bodies to detect and investigate crimes have been continuously improved, and preventive measures have been undertaken and the most important is that the initiative and the cooperation with the law enforcement bodies improved.

 

However, in parallel with the general trends, certain types of crimes have their own specific reasons and conditions, which need to be analyzed at proper time, and need steps of counteraction.

 

In your opinion, are there any problems in the fight against crime? Which directions do you think need to be improved in law enforcement bodies?

 

Increasing the efficiency of daily work is the most important. I see the need to intensify comprehensive measures in both directions.

 

The first is the property rights protection of our citizens from criminal harassment. In this direction, the RA Prosecutor's Office has adopted and follows the policy of making severe criminal measures. Preventive measures have important role in this field, which are especially needed to be activated by the police. Such measures were developed by the RA Prosecutor's Office, in combination with the efforts of local self-government bodies last year in order to increase the effectiveness of the fight against apartment theft, and especially it is one of our priorities in this year.

 

I mentioned this in 2018 when summarizing the activities of subdivisions of the Prosecutor's Office. During all the consultations aimed at summarizing the activities, I assure you that the activities to be undertaken in this direction will be in the center of my daily attention.

 

The second is the need to improve the process of crime prevention. Indeed, the continuous growth of these crimes is conditioned by the progressive growth of vehicle fleets in the country. However, the package of reforms in the field of violations of traffic rules initiated by the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the expected improvements in the process of providing driver's licenses, as well as the necessary steps in the field of road furnishing may have essential importance for reducing these crimes.

 

In addition to the above, I would like to mention another problem. Taking into account the risks connected with the possible increase of crime cases in the country due to amnesty, the need to intensify their prevention and preventive activities, the RA Police was instructed to exercise enhanced control over the people exempted from further serving of sentence due to amnesty who have been charged for intentionally committed dangerous acts for public and their behavior has been marked by high criminal risk.

 

The RA Prosecutor General's Office conducted a study in this direction. In the result, a list of people already exempted from sentence and containing the above-mentioned risks was sent to the police to be kept in their permanent operative field of vision and to undertake appropriate measures aimed at minimizing the criminal intentions of those people.