Ho Chi Minh City launches major crackdown on criminals

By Vuong Duc Anh   March 15, 2016 | 08:37 pm GMT+7

Police in Ho Chi Minh City have officially launched a major crackdown on crime in key areas following a request from recently-appointed the city's Party Secretary Dinh La Thang.

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City police held a parade prior to launching the crackdown on March 5.

During a meeting with Ho Chi Minh City Police on March 5, Thang asked them to focus on curbing criminal activities within the city, where cases of theft are increasingly damaging the city's appeal to locals and tourists alike.

“A city where people live comfortably with food and clothing but an unsettling rate of crime cannot be considered a civilized, modern city with high living standards,” Thang said. 

“Over the next three months, city police will have to work harder to cut the crime rate.” 

According to data from the city's Police, more than 6,000 criminal offenses were committed within the city in 2015, a drop of 5.9 per cent compared to 2014. Of that figure, burglaries and thefts accounted for nearly 85 per cent.

District 1 in the heart of the city recorded 345 criminal offenses in 2015. Among those there were 109 robberies and muggings and 177 cases of theft, of which 55 of the victims were foreigners.

Le Dong Phong, director of the city's police force, said the data shows a drop in crime but the threat of robberies and thefts still remains unsettling for residents and visitors. 

Police have already prepared to deploy measures aiming to prevent theft and robberies, according to Colonel Nguyen Sy Quang, a police spokesman.

More officers will be deployed with extra technical equipment in order to combat these types of crimes, Quang said.

As well as regular patrols, the task force will coordinate with other units and perform crosschecks with other agencies to detect and prevent criminal activity, he added.

Quang also said that there will be a 24/7 mobile task force constantly on the lookout.

"This force will be dedicated to preventing crime, not dealing with traffic or administrative issues," Quang said.

Phan Anh Minh, vice director of Ho Chi Minh City Police, suggested working with the Department of Information and Communications in the hunt for criminals.

Street thieves mainly aim for high-end phones and tablets that can be traced through a unique identity number assigned to each of them (IMEI), he said. If we work with mobile service providers in Vietnam to block these stolen devices, robberies and theft could fall by 50 per cent.

HCMC Police leaders also said that the installation of security cameras has proven effective to a certain extent. A number of thefts, robberies and drug deals have been caught on camera, and authorities are considering deploying CCTV or video camera surveillance around the city.