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Murder down, crime up

Guns, magazines and ammunition are displayed at the municipal police station during a press conference regarding two foreigners who were shot and robbed in Phnom Penh in September.
Guns, magazines and ammunition are displayed at the municipal police station during a press conference regarding two foreigners who were shot and robbed in Phnom Penh in September. Vireak Mai

Murder down, crime up

Phnom Penh’s murder rate was halved in 2013 as compared with 2012, but the same could not be said for crime cases across the board, which jumped a whopping 62 per cent last year, municipal police announced yesterday.

“There were a total of 775 cases of crimes happening in 2013, while there were 477 cases happening in 2012 in Phnom Penh,” said Brigadier General Chuon Narin, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police.

“There were only 17 people killed in 2013, while 34 were killed in 2012,” he added.

The most common offences, Narin continued, were armed robbery (up 49 per cent, to 82 cases), other robberies (up 142 per cent, to 63 cases) and rape (up 54 per cent, to 32 cases).

According to Narin’s figures, the capital’s three most dangerous neighbourhoods in 2013 were also among the most dangerous in 2012, and have only gotten worse.

Por Sen Chey district saw 189 cases of crime last year (up 78 per cent), Chamkarmon district saw 112 cases (up 81 per cent) and Tuol Kork saw 92 cases (up 77 per cent).

Por Sen Chey district police chief Lieutenant Colonel Yim Sarann attributed the spike in crime to newcomers to Phnom Penh who fail to register with authorities.

“There were all kinds of people or migrants coming from cities or provinces across the country to seek work as construction workers, garment workers or motorbike taxi drivers,” he said.

“These people were not afraid of the law,” he continued. “When they have any minor argument with other people, they commit a crime and escape from the place, and police have difficulty in arresting them.”

However Am Sam Ath, a senior technical adviser with rights group Licadho, gave a different explanation, pointing to a number of contributing factors.

“I think that the reason why many crimes are increasingly happening in Phnom Penh is the lack of local administrative management, poverty, unemployment and drug use,” he said.

“To reduce crime, I think that the Royal Government has to create jobs for unemployed people, strengthening the implementation of law … [and] combat all kinds of gambling and drug use in the country,” he added.

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