Northeast district has good police-population ratio but bad crime rate


Media Statement
by Chong Eng

(Penang, Thursday):  The new police chief for Penang, Deputy Comm Othman Talib challenged his 4,000-odd personnel to try and reduce the crime rate in the five districts in the state. Penang is one of the four states that recorded the highest crime index in recent years. The other three are Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johore.

For example, for the year 2002, Penang police received 1,723 cases of snatch theft compared to 3,629 cases in Kuala Lumpur, 3182 cases in Selangor and 2722 cases in Johore. Other states recorded less than a thousand cases with Perlis having the lowest of 33 cases, Kelantan 99 cases, Pahang 117 cases, Sabah 170 cases, Trengganu 148 cases, Negri Sembilan 233 cases, Malacca 340 cases, Sarawak 550 cases, Perak 808 cases and Kedah 886 cases.

The police have always cited shortage of personnel as a reason for the high crime rate. However, the Home minister had stated that the police-population ratio did not contribute to the increase in crime index in his answer to my question on June 23.

My question was: “Nyatakan nisbah polis-penduduk di kawasan Petaling Jaya, Daerah Timur Laut dan Seberang Perai Tengah, Pulau Pinang. Apakah hubungan di antara nisbah polis-penduduk dan Indeks Jenayah.”

The Home Minister’s answer was:

“Berdasarkan rekod di antara Jan-Mei 2003, nisbah polis-penduduk di kawasan Petaling Jaya, Selangor adalah 1:824 dan Indeks Jenayah sebanyak 3,431 kes, manakala di daerah Timur Laut, Pinang, nisbah polis-penduduk adalah 1:377 dan Indeks Jenayah sebanyak 2,207 kes, serta di kawasan SPT, Pulau Pinang, nisbah polis-penduduk adalah 1:792 dan Indeks Jenayah sebanyak 1,057 kes. Berdasarkan maklumat tersebut, peningkatan Indeks Jenayah tidak dipengaruhi oleh nisbah polis-penduduk."

Based on the answer given by the minister, the police-population ratio of North East district is of international standard, but its crime index (2,207) is more than double that of SPT (1,057). This shows that the shortage of personnel should not be blindly used as an excuse anymore for the high crime rate.

DAP calls on Othman Talib to undertake a more detailed analysis of the distribution of police personnel and crime index in all the five districts and find out why the North East district still has a high crime rate even though it has a small police-population ratio, keeping in mind that the actual crime rate is much higher that the reported cases because there are victims who do not make police report due to various reasons. Some victims claimed that they were advised by the police not to make a report. Others were discouraged by language problem and the unfriendly attitude of police personnel. There are also others who feel it is pointless to spend time to make police report as chances to get justice is slim.

DAP welcomes the challenge thrown by the CPO to his personnel to reduce the crime rate in Penang. However, we urge him to reveal all the measures that he is going to take to fight crime in the state. We also urge him to ensure that all police personnel at the counters are victim friendly.


* Chong Eng,  DAP Deputy Secretary General, DAP Women National Executive Committee Chairwoman and MP for  Bukit Mertajam