The crime wave that used to mar the capital before each Khmer New Year appears to be a thing of the past, officials said this week.
“All police, military police and RCAF soldiers at all levels must work 24 hours a day to keep security even though we have noticed less crime before Khmer New Year,” Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said Tuesday.
Each officer will be given an extra $1.25 per day for working during the 5-day holiday period starting on Friday, he said.
Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth also said that crime has been down this year compared to previous Khmer New Year periods.
“Normally, armed robbery, bag snatching and other crimes mostly happen because criminals need money to pay for New Year’s Day,” said Daun Penh district deputy police Chief Yim Socheat.
A municipal traffic police campaign to fine motorbikes without registration plates has the side effect of deterring robbers, he said, adding that as of Tuesday, there had been only one motorbike theft reported in his district this month —a drop from last year.
Prampi Makara district police chief Yim Simony said that residents heading out of town should still make sure they lock their doors and secure their houses before leaving.
A Tuol Kok district police official said on condition of anonymity that Khmer New Year, which sees the city depopulate, could be prime time for burglars.
“Particularly any residential homes isolated from others are a target,” he said.
The Phnom Penh Municipality also issued a notice on March 28, reminding citizens that, for Khmer New Year, they must behave themselves.
“Cambodian children are notified not to throw water, paint others with talcum powder, slap others, whip motorbike passengers or trick-drive motorbikes,” the notice said.
The municipality also reminded citizens that the use of water pistols and firecrackers is banned.