Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet said on Wednesday crime has decreased in the capital during the first quarter compared to last year.
This year, 194 criminal offences were recorded during the first quarter, a nine per cent drop from the 213 offences committed during the first quarter of 2019.
However, serious offences increased during the timeframe, from 25 last year to 36 this year, while minor offences dropped from 188 to 158 during the same periods.
Thet said the overall decrease in crime can be attributed to the efforts of authorities and citizens taking an active role in preventing it.
“When crime decreases, it means the authorities are paying attention regularly. We cracked down on the root of the problem and discouraged potential criminals from taking action. Cooperation from citizens also helped,” he said.
Authorities have strengthened their existing anti-crime measures, including the National Police and the Unified Command Committee in Phnom Penh, he said, before adding that old cases and new cases would continue to be investigated.
“We want to prevent crimes, especially in locations with high drug and gambling use", he said.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said at a city council meeting that offences dropped dramatically when night clubs and other entertainment places closed temporarily because of Covid-19.
Thet agreed that the closures reduced offences but he said not all people who go to clubs are offenders.
Authorities are also paying great attention to those who have just been released from prison, he said.
In the past, recently released prisoners tended to commit more serious crimes after returning to society.
“Most offences are committed by the same people. The number of new offenders is small. We have to control these groups, so we cooperate with prisons to identify people who will be set free soon. We must continue to monitor them,” Thet said.
Municipal hall spokesperson Met Meas Pheakdey said: “Robbery cases tend not to happen in the daytime when most crimes are traffic offences and others. Daytime snatch thefts and robberies are rare,” he said.
Lieutenant General Ngeng Chour, the deputy chief of the Penal Police Department at the Ministry of Interior, said offences last year had increased compared to 2018.
Last year, there were 3,196 criminal offences while there were only 2,969 in 2018 – an increase of eight per cent, he said.