20 Dec 2006

Fiji crime rate drops in wake of military coup

10:42 am on 20 December 2006

A dramatic decrease in crime has been reported in Fiji since the military coup two weeks ago.

Home invasions and armed robberies were almost a daily occurrence before the coup, but Fiji TV reports that they have nearly stopped.

The president of the Fiji Retailers Association, Himmat Lodhia, says since the military checkpoints went up on strategic locations, people are feeling a lot more secure.

Mr Lodhia says peddlers of stolen goods, pickpockets and bank robbers have disappeared from the streets.

Fiji's thriving security companies say the presence of the military on the streets has made their job much easier.

One security company manager, Aliposo Waqaititi, says the military presence at checkpoints is a blessing in disguise.

Another security company manager says the current situation is in stark contrast to the May 2000 coup when there was mayhem throughout the country.

Ordinary citizens interviewed say they feel much safer now than they did before the coup.

Many people are calling for the military checkpoints to be retained for a long time.