Crimes down as residents feel safer

Police said they had fewer crimes to solve in the first four months of this year after an intense crackdown in criminal activity in Shanghai over the past 18 months.

Crime reports and criminal cases were down 11.4 and 34.4 percent, respectively, in the first four months of the year compared with the same period last year, Shanghai police said on Monday.

Police said this was the result of an intense crackdown on criminals, especially those in organized groups, and a greater effort to remove the “umbrellas” of criminals from all levels of government in the past 18 months. 

By May 20, they had taken down 194 organized crime groups, caught 1,565 suspects and solved 405 criminal cases related to the groups.

As a result, over 500 million yuan (US$72 million) of residents’ losses had been recovered.

The crackdown on organized crime in loan sharking and blackmail and in the transport and construction industries where such crimes most often take place would continue, police said.

The government said that so far this year they had received 334 reports of “umbrellas” of criminals.

Meanwhile, annual surveys commissioned by the government show residents becoming increasingly satisfied with safety and law enforcement in the city since 2013.

Corinne Hua, founder and executive director of Stepping Stones, a Shanghai-based organization providing English classes for migrant and rural children, agrees.

“Like most expats, I feel very safe here. Many people comment on the fact that they can allow their children, especially teenage daughters, more freedom to go out and about in the evening than they would in many home cities,” said Hua, who has been living in Shanghai for over 25 years.

“There is always someone around, including many security guards, a lot of cameras, bag searches at all transport hubs, including Metro stations,” she said. “Though the flip side is that some people may not be comfortable with all the surveillance.”

She said burglaries or pick-pockets were rarely heard of any more.

Wu Mingxia, a native of Anhui Province who has been living in Shanghai for about 10 years and works in the automobile industry, said Shanghai is one of the safest cities in China.

“I often travel to other cities on business trips, and in many smaller cities I don’t dare to go out alone after 9pm, but here in Shanghai I have no worries at all,” she said. “There is Metro to take you home late at night and police officers or their assistants are very visible.”

Wu works in downtown but lives in Huaqiao in Jiangsu Province on the border with Anting Town in suburban Jiading District.

“I’m more wary of safety threats in suburban areas, but I have reasons to feel safe because where the lights are down you can always see police officers or their assistants patrolling,” she said.

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