No fires, better public safety and fewer criminal cases in water town

Chen Huizhi
Police and their partners are weaving a network of safety at Fengjing Old Town in Jinshan District.
Chen Huizhi

In recent years Fengjing Old Town has been attracting more and tourists thanks to the transport integration of the Yangtze River Delta region.

This makes its safety record outstanding.

For 12 years, no fires have been reported in the water town in Jinshan District on the border of Shanghai and Zhejiang Province. The town has more than 1,000 shops and restaurants and over 2,300 households.

There are also fewer and fewer other public safety cases reported to the police, thanks to a tight safety network being woven there.

The idea is to bring the entire community on board to safeguard homes.

Currently, the average daily number of visitors to the old town at weekends is 15,000. During the Spring Festival holiday this year, a daily average of 47,000 people visited the town, which has an area that equals 180 standard soccer fields.

Under the leadership of Fengjing Police Station, 14 government agencies that are responsible for overseeing or operating the tourist spot have formed a team of 180 to jointly patrol the area regularly and exchange information at the ground level.

During their patrols, they look out for all kinds of safety hazards, including illegal charging of e-bikes and illegal fire and power use, which are considered to have high fire risks. Due to the presence of officers from different authorities and the smooth communication mechanism, the hazards are usually efficiently removed.

Before the National Day holiday this year, Yao Xiaofeng, a police officer of Fengjing Police Station, said he found that a stone panel in a street in the old town had sunk a little bit and could pose a danger to tourists. He informed the headquarters of the patrol team which informed the road maintenance authorities immediately. The panel was replaced soon after.

Across the old town, almost all residents and business owners have joined WeChat groups with members of the patrol team. They report all kinds of problems in the community to the team via the Internet, such as barbeque shops dumping food waste in the streets at night.

By removing the problems at the onset, the community stays on the safe side.

"Our needs and calls are addressed in no time, which makes us feel safer," said a woman surnamed Cao who lives in the town.

So far this year, the total number of public safety cases reported from the entire administrated area of the police station and the number of criminal cases were down 13.6 percent and 34.7 percent from the same period last year, according to the police.

To be able to react to safety and fire cases efficiently, police now also patrol with a boat. The boat is equipped with police weapons, life-saving and firefighting equipment and first-aid kits.

The presence of the boat, which has been patrolling the area since July this year, has significantly reduced the time of reaction when emergencies happen.

"It takes about one hour for us to patrol the entire area on foot, and now with the boat we can reach the spots where cases are reported much more quickly," Officer Yao said.

There is also a special firefighting boat which is able to use water in the river to put out fire on the banks.

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