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Guangzhou Police Target Street Robberies
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Street robberies are still a big public security problem in Guangzhou, said He Jing, the deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security.

Yesterday he said local residents and tourists had been threatened on many occasions in this provincial capital of Guangdong.

Lately the robberies have been occurring in the city's inner streets and lanes, where there were fewer police patrols. More attention was being paid to crimes in the city's busy areas and major streets, He said.

"The number of robbery cases that involved breaking into local houses has also witnessed growth this year, threatening local people's lives and properties," the official added.

He said Guangzhou still had one of the highest crime rates in the country.

But the deputy director stated that police had cracked down on more than 29,000 criminal cases in the city in the first seven months of the year, up 1.5 percent year-on-year.

There were 259 murders while robbery was involved in more than 11,000 of the cases.

About 9,300 suspects were officially arrested between January and July, an increase of 2.9 percent on the same period in the previous year. Thousands more were detained.

Police shot dead five suspects and injured another nine this year, He said.

Officers smashed an organized robbery gang in the city's Huadu District earlier this month, detaining all 16 members. The gang had been active in Guangzhou since the beginning of the year.

Another gang that focused on stealing cars was also busted at the beginning of August, with 10 people detained.

"We have made progress fighting robberies in the past few months, but we will continue to spare no efforts on cracking down on crime," He said, speaking at a press conference.

He hinted that more special campaigns would be launched to focus on street robberies before the end of the year.

For the rest of this year, police will also increase patrols in areas where a lot of robberies occurred, he added.

Another 200 officers in plainclothes will be added in the next few months.

Currently, Guangzhou has 2,000 such officers. Since June they have dealt with 211 street robberies, detaining 147 suspects and helping to recover stolen cash valued at more than 310,000 yuan (US$38,750).

More than 8 million yuan (US$1 million) will be spent on upgrading police weapons and other equipment before the end of the year.

He urged local residents and tourists to report crime to the police and work with them to fight illegal activities.

(China Daily August 25, 2006)

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