When Sai Kung police arrested three suspects in the dead of night earlier this month, it was sweet vindication for the new measures employed in the district to fight burglaries. At about 3am on July 10, a resident spotted three men acting suspiciously near a house in Tsak Yue Wu and promptly called the police. Officers caught three suspects, illegal mainland immigrants, despite the alleged criminals having the cover of darkness and the country park to hide in. Sai Kung divisional commander Joseph Ngai Shiu-kei said the arrests were testimony to the success of strategies that had seen the number of burglaries in the area halved since 2004. Burglaries were a big problem several years ago. But better co-ordination between police units, neighbourhood watch schemes, public awareness campaigns and CCTV systems in two villages have seen the number of such crimes fall by about 40 per cent. There were 134 burglaries last year compared with 226 in 2004. Mr Ngai said police were confident the number would be reduced again this year after figures for the first half of the year showed a 23.5 per cent fall. Burglary has traditionally been a problem in Sai Kung because of the number of low-density housing estates built close to the countryside and two country parks, which provide good protection for thieves. 'There were many burglaries in the area in the past, but public awareness has increased,' Mr Ngai said. 'When we come across people living by a hillside, who will be more vulnerable, we try to convince them to install an alarm. Now there is more of a chance that if a neighbour sees someone acting suspiciously they will call the police. There has been an increase in mutual trust between neighbours.'