Law enforcement reform so far unproductive
Belarus’ crime map has changed over the past year and a half. If previously the number of ‘non-professional’ thefts was growing, today there is a trend toward particular crimes in different regions. In some, anti-corruption cases have mushroomed.
The three regions with the highest crime rates are: Minsk city, Minsk and Gomel Oblasts. All in all, the criminal situation in the regions is quite stable (the total number of crimes is decreasing), but in each region some types of crimes have increased. For example, in the Gomel region corruption cases in industry have doubled. In H1 2012, 47 corruption crimes were registered, and in H1 2013 – 103 cases. The situation is similar in the Grodno region, where corruption cases have increased by almost one-third compared with 2012. Since early 2013, eight prominent corruption cases were launched in Minsk Oblast, including the cases of ex-Chairman of Zhodino City Executive Committee and Deputy Chairman of Borisov Regional Executive Committee.
In Mogilev and Vitebsk Oblasts, rates of grave and especially grave crimes have increased. In addition, in the Vitebsk region, there has been a threefold rise in cases of young men avoiding conscription, which is considered a crime. A year ago, there were only 14 related cases, and in 2013 - 49.
The law enforcement reform, launched in late 2012 has not brought any significant changes in the work of regional Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) departments. The Investigative Committee structures have duplicated MIA functions and increased control over the police. Nevertheless, criminal cases against policemen on the abuse of power charges are launched in two cases only: 1) if they get public attention, 2) if other law enforcement agencies are interested in the investigation.
According to a poll conducted by MIA in 2012, only about 35% of citizens completely trust the police, about 9% distrust completely, others are more than not likely to trust. Circa 80% of respondents said they would address the police if their lives or property was under threat.
In 2012, the highest crime rate was registered in the following regions: Bobruisk (197) Glusk (184), Vitebsk (180), Berezina (173), Pukhovichy (171), Gomel (166) Orsha (159), Mogilev (157), Baranovichi (150) (number of crimes committed per 10 000 population).
Belarus’ top five most criminal cities in 2012 were: Baranovichi (150), Minsk (132), Polotsk (124), Bobruisk (103), Pinsk (95) (the number of crimes committed per 10 000 population).