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January 13, 2011

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Web map shows theft hotspots

A POPULAR cyber community published an "anti-pickpocketing map" of Shanghai yesterday, highlighting theft hotspots during this peak time for crime in the lead-up to the Spring Festival next month.

The KDS website at collected observations and experiences of theft from its users, many of whom call themselves TFs (an abbreviation of tufei, the Chinese pinyin word for bandits), marking highest frequency crime scenes with red tags.

The map, posted on the website at 11:35am yesterday, received more than 4,500 clicks in six hours. KDS later posted the map on its official microblog on

"KDS is a popular and localized website in Shanghai, and many TFs have experienced theft," said an administrator surnamed Ding who created the map. "We want to help our TFs and other residents in the city."

Many site users sent messages directly to administrators to provide theft information. The website received more than 1,000 "valuable pieces of information" within hours, Ding said.

"Our TFs live in every corner of the city and they know the situation in their neighborhood best," he added.

Among 48 areas across the city highlighted as theft hotspots are the Nanjing Road E. Metro station and Shanghai Railway Station.

Shanghai police praised KDS's efforts and advised locals to be vigilant.

However, some web users were unimpressed with the map as most of the city's transit hubs and commercial areas were tagged with theft alerts. "The whole city should be marked as all the crowded places are marked!" commented a TF identified as "gluttony88."

Ding said the map will be updated with more classification and details incorporated. "We are looking to add more details. Areas will be classified in different colors to indicate different levels of crime," Ding said.

The lead-up to the Spring Festival usually sees an increase in pickpocketing and other forms of theft as large numbers of people are on the move.


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