Guangzhou's crime rate drops 10pc

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am

Guangzhou's criminal cases fell below 100,000 for the first time in six years, dropping 10.1 per cent last year.

The number of criminal cases fell to 94,775 last year and 5.7 per cent to 105,364 in 2005, city government figures show.

The biggest drop last year was recorded at railway stations, where criminal cases were down 48 per cent last year and the number of snatch thefts fell 72 per cent.

A statement from the security co-ordination office said police had cracked down hard on criminals.

More than 3,000 policemen are on the city's streets every day and the government spends 156 million yuan a year to hire 6,500 full-time security guards.

Guangzhou deputy party secretary Zhang Guifang said at a meeting on public security on Tuesday that the security situation was still serious and residents' did not feel very safe. More police would be sent out on patrols and the number of security guards would be raised to 10,000 this year to put the public at ease.

Yang Jianguang , a law professor at Sun Yat-sen University, attributed the lower rate to hi-tech crime fighting. In the past two years, police have set up thousands of cameras in commercial districts, including shopping centres.

Professor Yang said they were a deterrent to criminals.

'Criminals might fear to commit crimes when they know the cameras are watching them,' he said. 'The police have placed many of them at railway stations.' Guangzhou plans to have 250,000 cameras set up by the end of this year.

The crime rate increased after 2003, when the central government repealed the Custody and Repatriation Law following the death of migrant Sun Zhigang while in police custody awaiting repatriation to his home town.

Police were criticised for allowing the rate to rise in an apparent protest against the stripping of their power to repatriate migrants.