RISING CRIME RAISES CONCERN IN AMERICAN SAMOA

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Criminal cases more than triple in past five years

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, August 17, 2009) - The number of American Samoans charged with breaking the law is growing at a significant rate

The Chief Probation Officer and Translator for the High Court, Silivelio Iosefo, told a house hearing that since 2005 the number of criminal cases has soared.

Up to 2004, he said the number of cases never surpassed 200.

But in 2005 the number of criminal cases jumped to 642 and the court estimates that by the end of 2009, there’ll be a total of 700 criminal cases.

Iosefo spoke about the soaring crime rate while testifying on a bill which would authorize the court to hire full time probation officers:

"Once upon a time, the notion that more Western Samoans or Samoans commit offences in American Samoa, once upon a time that was a correct notion. Nowadays, it has become readily apparent to us that it’s a close race now and I would suppose that in the next five years, American Samoans will take over from Western Samoans."

The Chief Probation Officer and Translator for the High Court Silivelio Iosefo

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