By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Public security in 2009 was reportedly better than in the preceding year, as the overall crime rate dropped by 10.5 percent including significant decreases in violent crime, juvenile delinquency, robbery and arson.
Secretary for Security Cheong Kuoc Vá announced the 2009 crime figures yesterday.
The total number of crime reported last year stood at 12,406, down by 1,458 or 10.5 percent compared to 2008.
The Secretary attributed the improvement to the increase in police operations and also the occurrence of the global financial crisis, which made lesser tourists to come to Macau.
“It’s necessary that the more people a place has, the more crime it will report,” he added.
In term of violent crime, 652 cases were logged versus 853 in 2008, representing a reduction of 23.6 percent.
Of these cases, child sexual abuse and murder rose 29.4 percent and 50 percent respectively to 22 and six in the reporting year.
Yet, robbery, drug trafficking, rape and blackmail all saw decreases respectively of 29.1 percent to 268 cases, 5.7 percent to 115, 10.5 percent to 17 and 2.4 percent to 40.
Meanwhile, a 7.5 percent decline was reported in offences against the person, which then came down to 2,505 last year, accounting for 20.2 percent of the overall crime rate in Macau.
Insult cases increased slightly by 3.8 percent to 83, but other kinds of offences against the person such as intimidation and serious injury to physical integrity of others went down 17.4 percent and 21.7 percent respectively in year 2009.
In regard to crimes against property which accounted for some 52 percent of the overall crime last year, Macau reported 6,462 cases, dropped 16.4 percent over the previous year 2008.
Secretary Cheong said that pickpocketing reported a 6.2 percent growth to 1,109 cases, but at the same time theft, stealing scooters, home burglary, deception and usury reduced by respectively 16 percent to 4,261 cases, 44.6 percent to 451, 26.4 percent to 584, 11.9 percent to 385 and 6.8 percent to 192.
The figures in the meantime showed that arson went down from 60 to 47 cases in the reporting year, as well as transfer of counterfeit currency from 457 to 280 cases.
Illegal drug trafficking and consumption also reported a decline of 5.7 percent and 2.7 percent, standing at 115 and 214 cases.
In 2009 more people were sent to the Public Prosecutions Office. An increase of 1.8 percent was registered, making the total number reach 4,196 eventually.
As for juvenile delinquency involving people under 16 years old in Macau, the Secretary for Security revealed that 52 cases have been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP), down by 23.5 percent versus 2008.
In addition, another 52 cases have not yet been sent to the MP, indicating a decrease of 52.7 percent.
The total 104 juvenile delinquency cases involved 124 boys and 46 girls, compared to 208 boys and 94 girls in 2008.
Although many types of crime reported a significant decline in their numbers last year, it seems that Macau is still facing the problems of illegal immigration and overstaying visas.
The statistics showed that there were 1,524 mainland Chinese, up seven percent, who entered the SAR illegally in the reporting year.
As well, the total numbers of mainland Chinese who overstayed their Individual Visit Scheme visas and other kinds of visas reportedly stood at 34,943 and 85,436 respectively, an increase of 2.8 percent and 32.8 percent.
Nearly 11,890 foreigners also continued to stay in Macau after their visas expired, soared 356 percent compared to 2008. However, it was noted that the figures before 2009 did not include those who had already been fined.
According to Cheong Kuoc Vá, the increase in overstaying fine from 20 to 200 patacas per day since August 2009 has effectively cut down the number of such cases in Macau.
He said that the number slumped from between 10,000 and 20,000 to between 2,000 and 3,000 each month starting last September.
In July and August last year respectively 16,937 and 12,605 overstayers were reported, however the figures then shrank to 3,328 in September, 3,549 in October, 2,791 in November and 2,845 in December.
The revision also includes immediate deportation and a minimum of one-year prohibition to enter Macau when a non-resident is found to have overstayed in the territory for the second time within six months.
In response to the growing prevalence of non-residents committing crime in Macau, the Secretary said that the SAR government is currently in talks with foreign affairs ministries to suspend offering visas on arrival to visitors from six Southeast Asian and African countries.
Yet he did not specify what the six countries are.