Johor posts lower crime rate but capital still a hotspot, says top cop

This picture taken in the early hours of August 21, 2013 shows Malaysian policemen checking a vehicle at a roadblock during an operation called 'Op Cantas Khas' in Kuala Lumpur. – AFP pic
This picture taken in the early hours of August 21, 2013 shows Malaysian policemen checking a vehicle at a roadblock during an operation called 'Op Cantas Khas' in Kuala Lumpur. – AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Johor police have admitted that the state’s capital city remains a crime hotspot, despite improving crime statistics in the peninsula’s southern-most state.

Johor police contingent headquarters administrative chief Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Abdul Aziz Ahmad said that 70 per cent of crime in the state happens in Johor Baru.

“People are coming in for better living, and for all types of investment. We’re having a conflict between prosperity and security,” he was quoted as saying in a report today by Singapore’s Straits Times.

Abdul Aziz, however, said that the state has managed to progressively bring down the number of cases over the past five years, especially after the federal government pumped in RM2 billion to beef up the police force.

The crime rate is estimated to drop 7.4 per cent this year to a little over 17,500 cases, compared to 19,000 cases recorded in 2012. In 2008, Johor had a total of 26,624 crimes reported.

The improving crime rate moved in tandem with a more formidable police presence in the state, which now stands at 8,675 policemen or one for every 663 people, on top of another 5,700 trained auxiliary policemen, the senior officer added.

Crime in Johor is a topic of keen interest among Singaporeans, who regularly drive out of the island nation and across the causeway into the southern Malaysian state, which is the only overland gateway for them to other destinations in the peninsula and beyond.

Singaporeans tend to be the target of kidnappers and robbers, with numerous cases reported over the years.

One of the more prominent cases that happened recently was in July last year when armed criminals hijacked the car of Singaporean entrepreneur Rita Zahara, with her family in tow.

Rita and her family, however, were later released unharmed and the authorities also managed to recover the car and valuables taken by the robbers.

The Singaporean daily paper quoted Abdul Aziz as saying that the police consider all cases involving Singaporeans as “high profile” and assign an officer holding the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) to investigate each case.

“In Malaysia, each ASP is in command of 600 men and one ASP is assigned for one case. I am not emotional, but I am trying to make a comparison and our officers are no joke, you know,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

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