CRIME nationwide dropped by 22 percent last year but has rebounded in the first two months of 2009 - posting an 11 percent rise over the same period last year, according to Mok Chito, chief of the Crime Department at the Interior Ministry.
He said reported cases in 2008 were down in all three of the "serious crime" categories, with armed robbery dropping 16 percent to 514 cases, murder dropping 20 percent to 325 cases and rape down 20 percent to 198 cases.
He attributed the jump in crime in early 2009 to a spate of robberies, especially of gold vendors.
Mok Chito acknowledged lapses in the application of legal procedure in arrests, saying at times suspects had been detained without being handed a formal charge.
This was not the only positive review by offcials of last year's crime rates. In early February, National Police spokesman Keat Chantharith reported a 23 percent drop in national crime in 2008 compared with the previous year, and Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth said crime in the capital had dropped even further, falling 29 percent in 2008.