The latest figures show offences jumped by 18 per cent in the first five months of the year, with theft increasing by more than a third and violent crime by 4.9 per cent Hong Kong's tourism chief has called for a concerted effort to tackle lawlessness after police reported a steep rise in crime during the first five months of the year. Figures released yesterday showed a rise in thefts, which jumped by more than a third on the same five-month period last year. Violent crime is also up 4.9 per cent. The overall crime rate jumped 18 per cent over the same period. The statistics came after a month of high-profile gun seizures and the arrest of gangs of mainlanders who were allegedly planning robberies across Hong Kong. Legislative Councillor Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, chairwoman of the Tourism Board, called for more preventive measures. In the wake of the Sars crisis it was vital that Hong Kong preserve its image as a safe city, she said. Speaking after a Fight Crime Committee meeting yesterday, Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said harsh economic conditions could be partly to blame for the rise in quick-cash crimes. But she said the failure of victims in protecting property was a factor. According to the figures, 36,386 crimes were committed from January to May this year, an increase of 5,639 cases, or 18.3 per cent, over the same period last year. Crime has increased steadily since January, with each month seeing more cases than the previous one. During the period, 5,966 violent crimes were reported. The number of robberies, homicides and rapes decreased. However, woundings and serious assaults climbed 7.7 per cent to about 3,000 cases, with instances of criminal intimidation growing 25 per cent. The latest figures do not reflect this month's homicides involving guns. On June 21, a jobless man, 42, was shot dead on a footbridge in Sau Mau Ping, the second such execution-style shooting in a week. Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui has expressed concern about guns smuggled from the mainland. Mrs Ip said that during the period, 853 mainland visitors were arrested, an increase of 16 per cent year on year. She said Hong Kong authorities would send information on criminal records to mainland counterparts so that offenders would be barred from visiting Hong Kong. Interdepartmental groups of police, customs and immigration officers would also be set up. From January to May the police recorded 16,964 thefts, an increase of 35 per cent over the same period last year. Of these, the number of pickpocketing cases increased to 640 this year, a 107 per cent rise and the highest growth rate among all crime categories. Reports of thefts from vehicles also increased by 103 per cent, from 938 cases last year to 1,902 cases this year. Commenting on the increase in thefts, Mrs Ip said the rate of increase in quick-cash crimes had slowed. 'Some of the crimes could have been prevented by greater vigilance on the part of the victims, so we will continue to step up publicity about this,' she said. Mrs Chow said she hoped the police would exert more effort to prevent crime, adding she did not want to see the crime rate rise when Hong Kong was trying to lure tourists back. Hong Kong did not want signs at tourist spots warning visitors about pickpockets, she said.