Thieves and robbers in Ho Chi Minh City have been retreating to outlying districts following moves to tighten security in downtown areas, according to the municipal Department of Police.
As officers focus on preventing criminal behaviour in central parts, often crowded with domestic and foreign tourists, thieves and robbers have moved their operations to outlying districts, namely Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Binh Tan and Tan Phu.
The number of criminal offenses in the southern city from February 16 to May 15 decreased by seven percent year-on-year, police have said.
A total of 1,173 violations were committed, including the deaths of 22 people and injuries to 167 others and financial damage totaling VND33 billion (US$1.47 million), officers said, adding that 778 cases were solved and 902 suspects arrested.
Theft was the most common crime recorded with 622 cases, while motorcycles were the items most likely to be stolen.
Second on the list of the most prevalent illegal practices was robbery with 218 cases recorded in the three-month period, according to police, who added that these were mainly committed by drug addicts and unemployed people between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm.
Mugging, a more serious and dangerous crime, has drastically reduced by 21 percent with 45 cases occuring primarily in District 7, 12, Binh Chanh District, and some others.
Muggers tend to hunt for their prey in dark places before threatening their victims with violence.
The number of murder and assault cases was 139, dropping by 5.5 percent, officers said, before adding that these crimes had become more complicated and menacing.
Nguyen Hau, residing in a tenanted house in Tan Binh District, is still terrified while recounting the home intrusion that he experienced last week.
A man armed with a knife broke into Hau’s home in the middle of the night, taking cellphones and nearly VND500 million ($22,400) in cash without anyone noticing, until they checked their security cameras.
On June 8, Le Thi Nhan, a resident of Thu Duc District, reported that her safe had been damaged and VND370 million ($16.576) in cash was gone.
Investigation showed that Nhan’s house had been intruded and that her property could have been gone for several days before she noticed.
Disguised as police, targeting expats
Lee Sie Zan, a 31-year-old expat living in District 7, was riding his motorbike at around 1:10 pm on June 6 when he was approached by a Vietnamese man claiming to be a police officer.
Speaking in English, the suspect ordered Lee to hand him his bag for inspection, which contained a tablet, cellphone, and passport worth a combined VND13 million ($582.4), before quickly escaping.
On the afternoon of June 2, Kumar Bloomstein, 23, who is staying in District 1, encountered a young man when he was traveling on Mai Chi Tho Street.
Again claiming to be a law enforcer, the man asked Bloomstein to go to the local police station and stole his backpack with a tablet and camera inside.
In a similar manner, Sudokenji, 43, living in Binh Thanh District, had his iPhone 6 stolen on the morning of May 26.
Police are carrying out investigations into all of the cases and have detained several suspects allegedly involved in the crime.