Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities have set up 34 mobile police teams to patrol streets in an effort to fight a significant spurt in theft and robberies that has worried residents.

At a press briefing last week, Colonel Le Anh Tuan, chief of the HCM City Police Department's Administration Office, said the teams will comprise officers from crime, traffic and mobile police divisions.

They will patrol crime hot-spots round-the-clock, he said.
City police had previously launched two campaigns against street crimes on November 23 and December 12.

The task forces have been established under instructions from leaders of the Ministry of Public Security, following the model of Task Force 141 set up by the Hanoi Police, Tuan said, adding that the model has, however, been modified to match the situation in HCM City.

Tuan noted that there has been an increase in the number of young people carrying out thefts and robberies; and in many cases, drugs were consumed before the crimes were committed.

As many as 5,001 crimes were recorded in HCM City in 2012, down 7 percent compared with 2011. However, serious offenses account for over 20 percent of this year's crimes.

The number of thefts and robberies has decreased slightly but still represented over 71 percent of crimes committed in 2012.

Tuan mentioned possible increases in crimes committed by "underworld gangs" including illegal protection of entertainment facilities and debt collection.

As of December 19, HCM City police had arrested 260 suspects in 305 crimes. Police solved 127 cases or 56 per cent of the 225 thefts and robberies committed in the city during this period, arrested 186 suspects and busted 46 underworld gangs.-VNA