The National Police on Friday unveiled a force of 88,000 personnel who will take part in efforts to secure the annual end-of-Ramadan holiday exodus.
Gen. Timur Pradopo, the National Police chief, said the force would not just coordinate traffic out of major cities but also guard against the threat of increased crime that traditionally coincides with the hometown exodus known as mudik .
“As we approach Idul Fitri, the potential for all kinds of criminal activity tends to increase,” he said.
“That includes break-ins at houses where the owners have left town, vehicle theft and so on.”
He also warned of the threat of terrorist activities and rioting.
“With these kinds of threats, the police need to take innovative measures to prepare,” Timur said.
He added that under the mudik-long security operation, dubbed “Ketupat 2012,” police would focus their attention on the main provinces that mudik travelers will depart from or go to. These include all provinces on Java as well as Bali, South Sumatra, Lampung and South Sulawesi.
“We will post officers at points prone to traffic jams or other security risks. We need to show that the police are truly there to serve and protect the people,” Timur said.
Police expect more than 12 million people to take part in mudik this year, which typically peaks in the week before and after Idul Fitri. This year, Idul Fitri is expected to fall on Aug. 19 or 20.
A projected 5.6 million people are expected to travel by road or rail, while 3.4 million are expected to go by sea and 3.3 million by air, Timur said. Most will be leaving Jakarta to spend the holiday in their hometowns.
State insurer Jasa Raharja said it would provide a team of 150 doctors along the main mudik road routes across Java this year in anticipation of the high number of traffic accidents that usually occur during this time of year.
Diding S. Anwar, the company director, said the insurer was also providing a fleet of 240 buses to take travelers to 38 primary mudik destinations, part of a bid to minimize the number of people making the long trips by motorcycle.
Motorcyclists typically account for up to three-quarters of casualties during mudik every year.
Diding said Jasa Raharja’s obligation to pay the families of those killed or injured in road accidents would still hold during this period. The families of those killed are entitled to Rp 25 million ($2,700) each, while those injured receive Rp 10 million.
Timur also called on travelers not to go by motorcycle this year.
“Seventy-six percent of accidents during mudik involve motorbikes, which is too high a figure,” he said. “Motorbikes are just far too prone to accidents. They’re not designed for long journeys, but people still use them because they’re cheap and they can be easily driven around once they get to their home villages.”
The Communications and Information Technology Ministry has also kicked off a campaign urging motorists not to use cellphones while on the road.
According to Transportation Ministry data, during 2010 and 2011, some 62,000 people were killed in traffic accidents.
The National Police recorded 4,006 accidents in the two weeks surrounding Idul Fitri in 2011. The number of accidents had increased by 33 percent from the previous year’s figure of 3,010, but the number of fatalities decreased to 661, from 746 in 2010, according to the police.