Phnom Penh Sees Less Than a Crime Each Day, Officials Say

Phnom Penh’s crime rate drop­ped more than 40 percent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2009, according to figures released by City Hall on Tuesday.

The official police statistics claim that, on average, less than one crime was recorded in the capital each day this year.

Municipal Governor Kep Chuk­tema read the municipal police report out to officials at City Hall on Tuesday, saying that 49 felonies and 76 misdemeanours had been recorded between Jan 1 and June 30.

The total of 125 crimes was a sharp decrease from the first six months of 2009, when 223 crimes were recorded, Mr Chuktema said.

“As the result, we…apprehended 236 people and sent them to the court for prosecution according to the law,” he said.

If Phnom Penh continues tracking a similar crime rate for the rest of the year, it will make up a very small slice of the country’s yearly crime figures. In 2009, 3,456 criminal offenses were recorded in Cam­bodia, a figure that is itself dwarfed by most countries on a per capita basis.

Municipal police chief Touch Na­ruth claimed yesterday that crime was down in the capital be­cause of the cooperation be­tween police and the public.

“Actually, the crime in Phnom Penh has markedly decreased thanks to our increased patrols and through local residents’ help in tipping off police about the crimes,” Mr Naruth said.

Mr Naruth’s deputy, Phuong Malay, said the decrease was be­cause the authorities had followed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders to crack down on various crimes.

Chan Soveth, chief monitor for local rights group Adhoc, agreed with police that crime was down in Phnom Penh, adding that he be­lieved the drop was because of more police action.

“Now, people are very careful,” Mr Soveth said, adding that many people were implementing security measures at their homes.

Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, said he was too busy to speak to a reporter yesterday.

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