Saigoneers’ fear of street robberies
For many people, gangsters in Saigon have become a nightmare.
One late afternoon in March, P. was using her phone while having a snack at a street food shop on Truong Sa in District 3 in HCM City.
The street was crowded. The food shop was fully packed. Suddenly her phone was snatched by a well-dressed mafia member behind her back. She chased after him and shouted for help but the robber escaped with a member of his gang.
The robbery was recorded by the CCTV in the shop. The police were called, but the phone has not been found.
A young woman sitting in a busy food shop lost her phone in the blink of an eye.
For many people, gangsters in Saigon have become a nightmare. T., a young Hanoian woman, was extremely anxious about this after reading all the news on mainstream and social media.
Coming to Saigon for a business trip, she was highly alert wherever she was. Despite her careful attitude, her phone was grabbed by a robber when she had just taken it out for a call in front of a shopping center in Sai Gon.
The guy fled with his team member on a motorbike. T. panicked and cried out in the crowded street. No one was able to react promptly as the incident happened within seconds.
A robber drags his victim on the street.
Mrs. Kieu Thanh, 52, a business owner on Cach Mang Thang 8 street, has witnessed a number of such crimes. “It gets more and more violent. Sometimes they rob pedestrians’ assets and run into small alleys. Many people chase them but their gang members attack back….”
Three years ago, Tan Binh so-called “street knights” were attacked by mafia gangsters. Two died and three were severely injured. Within 24 hours, Ho Chi Minh City police arrested two gangsters suspected of the crime.
Robbery and street crime have been increasing in Ho Chi Minh City for about 10 years, causing public concern. People are afraid of having things stolen and snatched anytime and anywhere.
According to Major General Dinh Thanh Nhan, HCM City Police Agency’s Deputy Director, said that robbery and snatching of items accounted for 76.7% of city crime.
A robber caught on the street of Saigon.
Mr. Nhan said: "This crime is very dangerous, causing serious consequences. In many cases, the gangsters attack back, leading to injuries or even fatalities of passersby. Many people have been wounded in the hunt for street mafia."
In his recent study of 225 cases, Mr. Nguyen Van Khoa Diem (Ho Chi Minh City’s Police College) found that male gangsters accounted for 276 out of 288 criminals, or 95.8%.
More than 77% of them are 18 to 30 years old.
The gangsters also operate and move around the city, representing more than 66% of the cases.
A gang of teenage robbers are arrested by Ho Chi Minh City police.
Diem’s study shows that more than 85% of criminals are unemployed or have unstable jobs.
More than 57% are first-time offenders, so they are not listed in the records of local police, making crime prevention more difficult.
In recent years, Ho Chi Minh City police have been increasingly cracking down on street crime.
Though it has reduced, street robbery remains complicated and dangerous. In 2020, there were 4,409 cases, a drop of 13 cases over the previous year.
Colonel Nguyen Sy Quang, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Police Agency, at a press conference on street crime crackdown solutions.
3% reduction and new determination
The city police periodically patrol and sweep the city for possible crimes, especially property crimes such as burglary, to ensure social security.
Recently, Major General Le Hong Nam, Director General of Ho Chi Minh City Police, assigned the local police to reduce crime by at least 3%.
The assignment was published in the media, which put the local police force under pressure to bring down street crime in their areas.
Surveillance cameras are the “magic eyes” used in crime prevention.
Major General Phan Anh Minh, former Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Police, said that the most aggressive solution is to send drug addicts to drug rehabilitation centers.
In his opinion, this is the most effective solution to reduce crime in general and property robbery in particular as most crimes are the outcomes of drug addiction.
According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Duy Dung, Deputy Head of the PC02 Division of Ho Chi Minh City Police, to eliminate and end street robbery, city police have applied various preventive measures and tracking solutions including technology such as surveillance cameras to track robbers.
Ho Chi Minh City police officers patrol the city to crack down on crime.
Many cases were investigated quickly after pictures of the robbery were posted on social media and received by the police.
Colonel Nguyen Sy Quan, Deputy Director of the City Police, said that police in the city have increased their policing presence all year round, not only during peak times, to tackle street crime and reduce it effectively.
Make the most of 1,500 'magic eyes'
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Information and Communication Department, the Smart City Operation Center connected 1500 high-quality surveillance cameras installed in the city during the program's Phase 1.
They are “magic eyes” capable of simultaneously analyzing data, recognizing faces and vehicles, and detecting traffic incidents. The city expects to have nearly 1,000 cameras installed by the end of 2021.
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