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Police collecting demographic statistics

IF someone knocks on your door, don't mistake them for a salesman as it may be a community coordinator collecting statistics, police told Luwan District residents yesterday.

Shanghai police are raising the public's awareness of the demographic data collection of all residents living in the city, including migrant workers and foreigners, for better public security and urban planning.

A pilot program ran in Hongkou District last October and was expanded citywide in March.

By last month the police collected data on 45 communities involving 780,000 buildings or lanes, 1,740,000 households and 4,060,000 residents.

"The government has to know the demographics before any urban planning," Zhang Xuebing, director of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said.

"If we have no idea of the population in a community, we won't know how many police officers are needed to be dispatched on patrol there," he said.

The construction of infrastructure also has a lot to do with the demographics, Zhang said.

"A community's infrastructure should match the head count living in it. But in some communities, the actual population is 10 times the original one, which causes a lot problems such as water shortage, blocked sewers and lack of waste disposal.

"People will feel insecure when they have no idea who they are neighboring."

In May police discovered a gun fired in Putuo District was made in an apartment.

"Such cases could have been prevented if we had enough residential information," Zhang said.

However, the population collecting work is not so welcomed by residents.

"They don't trust me," said Hu Rongkun, a residential information collector in Luwan District. "One woman even gave me the wrong number of the identification card."

On the other hand, many residents questioned the security of their personal information.

"We have a strict system to protect the information," Zhang said. "Residents have the obligation to provide the basic personal information to the police. It's good for every citizen."


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