THE national crime rate dropped 23 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year, Keat Chantharith, a spokesman for the National Police, told the Post Monday.
Touch Naruth, Phnom Penh police commissioner, said crime in the capital had dropped even further, falling 29 percent in 2008.
The officials cited these figures on the same day that 164 high-ranking police officials from across the country gathered at National Police headquarters in Phnom Penh for their annual assembly, which was presided over by Commissioner Neth Savoeun.
"For the coming year, our government will try very hard to fight against any crime and terrorism in order to keep the whole nation secure," Keat Chantharith said.
He said officials discussed three main points at the assembly: strengthening national security and counterterrorism, with particular emphasis on cooperating with the Defence Ministry to improve border security; reducing the crime rate further and maintaining public order; and improving the relationship between the police and the public.
With regard to the last goal, Keat Chantharith said officials wanted people to feel less "inconvenienced" by their interactions with police officers and also "to feel trust and love as we cooperate to protect social security".
Sok Sam Oeun, director of the local legal NGO Cambodian Defenders Project, said the statistics cited by the officials were difficult to evaluate.
"It is very difficult for me to assess whether the statistics reflect such a dramatic increase in public safety because they do not divide minor crimes from serious crimes," he said.