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April 19, 2019

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Thieves out of pocket after police crackdown

PICKPOCKETING cases on buses and at Metro stations in the first three months of the year were down 40 percent on the same period last year, police said yesterday.

In March alone, police said they had solved about 130 cases with more than 160 suspects caught and stolen items worth about 100,000 yuan (US$14,900) recovered. The figures were the result of an intense crackdown on pickpocketing since the be­ginning of the year.

Gao Tianchun, head of the squad targeting pickpocket­ing on public transport, said plainclothes officers had stepped up patrols at Metro stations where cases were most frequently reported, particu­larly People’s Square, Guanglan Road in Pudong and Shanghai Railway Station.

“We have relocated our force partly from buses to the Metro because more and more people take the Metro, and the number of pickpocketing cases on buses has dropped a lot,” he said.

Gao said pickpockets were in­creasingly acting alone instead of working in groups to reduce the chance of being spotted by police.

“One thing remains the same, Metro passengers who are mostly likely to fall prey to pickpockets are those who put their mobile phone in the pocket of their coat and look distracted,” he said.

About 10 million people take the Metro every day.

Shanghai police said the city is safer overall with a 20 per­cent drop in 110 emergency calls compared with the same period last year, with the big­gest reductions in Jing’an, Changning, Hongkou, Minhang and Baoshan districts.

Reports of thefts were down about 30 percent on a year-on-year base, and the number of snatch and grab cases reported was down 50 percent with all the cases solved.

Police spokesman Zhu Liang said that in some city districts, for consecutive years, all snatch and grab robbery cases had been solved before the end of a year.

The number of burglary re­ports in the first three months was down by more than 40 per­cent compared with the same period last year, police said.

In half of such cases, burglars entered homes through un­locked doors or open windows, and stolen objects were cash, expensive jewelry, and mobile phones and accessories.

Last month, Songjiang District police caught a man surnamed Yan who is the suspect in three robberies in the district last year. The man was detained at his home in Jinshan District.

Fengxian District police caught three suspects in Jin­shan, Jing’an and Songjiang districts last month who were allegedly responsible for more than 10 midnight burglaries in Fengxian.

Earlier this month, two men were caught by Baoshan District police after allegedly grabbing a phone from a person near Liu­hang Metro station on Line 7.


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