Improvement in intelligence gathering network has paid off, say police The police improved their crime cleanup rate in the first half of the year - after the figures dropped to a 10-year low last year - thanks to better intelligence gathering for even minor crimes like pickpocketing. There were 40,605 crimes recorded between January and June, a drop of 7.5 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, police said as they disclosed the latest crime statistics yesterday. The detection rate increased to 42.2 per cent from 39.2 per cent last year. Last year the detection rate dropped 11 per cent to a 10-year low. Some frontline officers had attributed the decline to budget reductions in the force and a rise in quick-cash crimes that were difficult to crack. Director of Operations Peter Yam Tat-wing said the reinforcement of intelligence gathering might be the reason behind the rise in the detection rate. 'We have enhanced our intelligence network, including cases such as pickpocketing. We have started to look differently and we think that may have helped to raise the detection rate,' Mr Yam said, citing the smashing of a pickpocketing ring in Shamshuipo this month as an example. Fifteen people were arrested and 800 mobile phones seized. Despite a drop in the overall crime rate, however, a 43.8 per cent increase in rape cases was recorded - from 32 to 46. 'We urge victims to come forward ... the successful detection rate of these cases is extremely high. They should act bravely and should not tolerate such crime,' Director of Crime and Security Richard Tang Hau-sing said. Other than rape, only five other crimes recorded an increase in the first half of the year. These were: Four robberies with stun guns, a 100 per cent increase; 492 indecent assaults, a rise of 4.2 per cent; 1,197 serious drug offences, an increase of 19.3 per cent; 903 pickpocketings, an increase of 18 per cent; and 4,687 shop thefts, a rise of 1 per cent. Of all the crimes, Mr Tang expressed particular concern about the increase in young drug abusers. A total of 53kg of ketamine and 187,788 Ecstasy tablets were seized, an increase of 307.7 per cent and 146.8 per cent respectively. 'A total of 290 people, aged between 16 and 20, were arrested for serious narcotics offences. Among these, 264 involved psychotropic drugs. 'We can see that among the youngsters, demand for heroin is decreasing while the demand for psychotropic drugs is increasing at an alarming rate,' Mr Tang said. The police have stepped up prevention measures and are co-operating with the Health Department and the Education Department to warn teenagers of the dangers of such drugs.