Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Crime is all Perception

That's what the Royal Malaysian Police and the Government would like you to think. Clearly, it seems if since the Police can't fight crime effectively, the next best thing to do is to fight perception.

The Royal Malaysian Police and the Deputy Prime Minister have over the past few days, gone on an offensive to blame the high crime rates in Malaysia on “perception”.

The Star reported on 30th November that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the latest statistics showed the crime index to be 772 cases per 100,000 residents and compared it favourably against Singapore which according to him “recorded 704.7 cases, Hong Kong (1,166), Japan (1,569) and Australia (4,470)”.

On 1st December, the IGP himself, Tan Sri Musa Hassan was reported in the New Straits Times saying that “our crime rate is still low compared with many other countries although the global trend shows an increase... Singapore's crime rate is 740.7 cases for every 100,000 population, Hong Kong's is 1,166, Japan's is 1,569, Australia's is 4,470 and Rome's is 8,341.”

As reported in the Malaysian Insider, “Malaysia is still a very safe country, but the problem is public perception. We are trying our level best to give a correct picture,” Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Mohd Bakri Zinin told The Straits Times.

And as reported in the media today, our Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said that "our perception of crime must change" because “based on the statistics given by the police, it indicates that the crime rate in Malaysia is lower than Japan and Hong Kong.”

The above appears to be a concerted effort by the Government to downplay the significance of 2% increase in the crime index as of October this year compared to last year, as well as to blame the public concerons over high crime rates in Malaysia as a matter of misplaced “perception”.

Howvever, the Royal Malaysian Police has failed to provide the full picture in the statistics provided and instead have given a misleading perception that Malaysia is much safer than Japan, which is renown as one of the safest countries in the world.

Based on statistics provided by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, in 2007, the crime rate per 100,000 is 1,493.6. However, approximately 75% of this number is classified as “larceny” or theft (e.g., shoplifting etc.)

Similarly in 2005, the crime rate per 100,000 is 1,775.7. However, larceny made up 76% of all cases, while violent crimes which includes homicide, arson, rape, bodily injury etc., made up 3.8% or 66.6 cases per 100,000. Homicide and rape cases form 1.09 and 1.62 cases per 100,000 population respectively. In contrast, for 2007, violent crimes recorded 180.1 cases per 100,000 while homicide and rape cases in Malaysia form 2.12 and 11.47 cases per 100,000 population respectively.

The biggest contrast is for robbery cases in Japan which records only 4.69 cases per 100,000 while it's a staggering 88.76 cases for Malaysia. Similarly, criminal intimidation in Japan records only 1.92 cases per 100,000 while in Malaysia it's 21.31 cases. Hence, the Government's attempts to paint a picture that Malaysia is much safer than Japan is clearly misleading at best. In fact, from the statistics of violent crimes above, Malaysia is a much more dangerous place when compared to Japan.

To further illustrate how the comparisons with the countries highlighted is misleading is that the Malaysian index includes on violent and property crimes, but excludes white collar and moral crimes. For the Japanese index, “intellectual offences” (e.g., fraud, embezzlement, counterfeit etc.) and moral offences makes up 20% of the total crime rate in 2005.

Similarly in Singapore, the Singapore Police Force announced a crime rate of 715 per 100,000 in 2007 where commercial and miscellaneous crimes constitute 21.8% of the index. Hence the claim that Malaysia is nearly as safe as Singapore is clearly unfounded.

In addition, separate crimes ranking table compiled by NationMaster, Malaysia is ranked 34th in terms of the number of murders per capita, which is higher compared to Australia (43), Italy (47), Hong Kong (59) and Japan (60). In terms of rapes per capita, we are ranked 38th, but still ahead of Italy (46), Japan (54) and Hong Kong (55).

Therefore, while Malaysia is clearly not the worst country in the world in terms of crime, the fact that the crime index has risen by more than 45% since 2003, while violent crimes have increased by more than 85% demonstrates clearly the dire circumstances we are in.

The people of Malaysia no longer feel secure and safe walking the streets. Hence the Government's attempts to change the “perception of crime” in Malaysia by citing statistics which are most misleading is most irresponsible. Instead of continuously blaming public perception as the key reason why crime is seen as serious in this country, the Government and the Royal Malaysian Police should instead focus its efforts in fighting crime and improving its credibility with tangible steps, such as implementing the full recommendations of the Royal Police Commission report which included the restructuring of the police force such that 30% of the police force is transferred from administrative to crime-fighting functions as well as to set up the all-important Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

And not to forget the police force's rigour in recording crime and the public's willingness to report a crime is also a big factor. How many rape cases in Malaysia go unreported? How many assaults, theft and other such crime go unreported? For example, my father's (who's 60+) mobile phone got stolen twice in the last 6 months. He did not report it. Here in the UK, I would have because only then I could claim insurance. Yes, this evidence is anecdotal, but still...

yowchuan said...

We are becoming more of a 'Cowboy Town' than we had like to imagine.

When policemen go around shifting the responsibility of rising crime rates on 'perception', you would have realized that the entire citizenry's personal safety is in jeopardy and we can no longer count on the police to protect us from harm's way.

Someone from the opposition should start looking into 'privatizing' the police force or maybe consider outsourcing the PDRM to the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

may be inking the helicopter deal for PDRM will solve the rising crime rate, no?

Anonymous said...

I wonder anybody out there still believe in statistic without knowing how the figure was collected. I think DPM and the IGP must wake up and stop fooling the people. Disgusting and their intention in trying to misinform the rakyat is despicable.
LOW or HIGH...Mr DPM and IGP just get the country to be crime FREE!!!!!!and stop bullshitting.

Ooi Beng Hooi said...

I know that the statement made by Deputy IGP that Malaysia is safer than Singapore was wrong but just couldn't figure out why.

Thanks for the details and analysis

Anonymous said...

You hit them right on their thick skulls! Tony. Just What I've thought. Blame everybody including the victims, the people but themselves! Such a disgrace to have our top police personnel & top government officials claiming our country is safer than those you have mentioned. They just lied thru their nose and as usual deny, deny & continue to deny to the facts! So many personnels to beat up ordinary folks but short of man power to keep ordinary folks safe from robberies, snatch thefts & etc. What more can we say of them? Really useless bunch of idiots!

chong said...

just yesterday, my teacher's house got a break-in.

Anonymous said...

That's why I feel safer to walk in streets of Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Hongkong than Kuala Lumpur or PJ. Polis should not hide the fact that violent crime in Malaysia is really getting out of hand. If we do not do anything on this, it will get worst next year when economy is not so good.

Bentoh said...

It's kind of sad your analyses were not given much attention by the media...

1st Anon was dead right... Tonnes of crimes, ranging from theft to robbery were unreported... well, unless your IC kena stolen, most of the people won't report to police over the "petty" crimes already...

and plus the fact that police usually encourage the victims to not lodge report, but settle the case outside the police station...

YV said...

Do they collect and interpret the statistic based on the cases reported?

The reported cases are only tips of the iceberg of what actually happened.

Generally, we don't trust police. That's why many cases go unreported.

Wake up from your state of denial and stop cowing your political master. We, the rakyat are your paymaster, not them..

agnos said...

to be fair YB - if those dude are as good as you in analysis of statistic they wont be sitting in their current position right now.

reason is clear - if they have the intellect their boss wont nominate them up. if they have the intellect maybe they would already be in the corporate world. if they have the intellect we dont even need to have this conversation about rise in crime.

amoker said...

Thanks for the research, Tony. your argument is more detailed than my initial rationizing. The government is trying the same spin without the substance. Instead of really using data to help them to solve issues, they use it to spin and sweep it under the table.

Maybe police needs more Eurocopter to fight crime. We have increase the number of police ( taxpayer's money) but crime still goes up. Who to explain?

charis14 said...

Consider reporting procedure for house break-in :
1) Call police - mobile unit comes - victim asked to lodge official report
2) Go station - lodge report - asked to see investigating officer based 3km away
3) Go next station - see officer who visits crime scene

Question : Will the crime enter statistics if victim aborts steps 2 or 3? If so, all it takes to 'fight perception' is to to ask victim whether they want to see the officer based > 20km away. Suddenly, statistics for the following year is bound to 'improve' drastically.

Richard Cranium said...

There is an interesting book I read some time ago about how to lie with statistics. Maybe the Tuan IGP read the same book, eh?

ahoo said...

Well, we are immuned to the ever spinning of the MSMs' and know where are the real truths. They can say anything they want BUT who really believe what they said nowadays as every other issues can be creatively put-forth !

Thank you for the ststistics and to link the higher figures to people's perception is just too much. They may be thinking that we only know how to read but can't think logically.

As the saying goes, " you can fool some people sometime BUT you can't fool all the people all the time." So, please keep those stats for your own consumption and do pray that when in denial mode, no harm befalls any of their love ones as that would be a very painful episode.

Eric said...

yowchuan, you are wrong. PDRM has been sold to the highest bidder long ago. Just too bad the proceeds do not go to the state :(

Anonymous said...

Our tour bus passed through a dark area in Shanghai and I saw some girls dressed pretty sexy walking along the way. It was like after 10.00 pm. I asked our tour guide if it is safe to walk at this time of the night. He replied confidently, "Yes, it is very safe, you know, we have death penalty by shooting."

d'Frog Prince said...

add in the crimes that goes unreported. and there are cases where even when the victim made the effort to report a crime, they are met with disdained look that turned them off instead. less work for PDRM actually.

though we have insufficient police (so they claimed) but what little that we have, we barely see their faces, whom, due to some unknown reason, would reappear come festives season and there don't seemed to be any shortage at all. strange huh?

d'frog prince

yowchuan said...

Heh, Eric, forgot about that one.

Since I don't think the IPCMC will be approved by the Cabinet anytime soon, I suggest that the Opposition setup a new civilian security force. It could be a privatized institution.

I don't mind paying for it as long as it works, since I am already paying for the security fee at the place I'm staying.

Bentoh said...

yowchuan,

IPCMC no, SSC or SCC or whatever yes... MACC ala ICAC also yes...

but then in Malaysia, whatever C is wayang... ;)

Civillian Security Force most probably needs to be approved by Home Ministry... and let's bet if government will approve it... ;)

thrace said...

they can say all they want... cos it's not

their house that got broken into,
their wives who's bags got snatched,
their daughters who got caught and raped,
their brothers who got chopped by thugs,
their sisters who's car got hijacked,
and the list goes on...

remie said...

The next question is how many police personnel do we have per 100,000 residents compared to the benchmark countries?

This would highlight the efficiency level of our police force vis-a-vis our benchmark countries. It would be most relevant regarding the efficiency perception of our police force by our citizens.

ipohMali said...

even one goes to report a theft or snatch because of IC, one will be advice to report as DROPPED/HILANG.
So how accurate is our statistic even it is not being misled.

So the rule of thumb is to THINK OPPOSITE/REVERSE any statements from the TOP DOGS...

Ben said...

May I ask the YBs' in PR, how come the motion to deduct igp pay was defeated 30(PR) to 45(BN). Where were the others? If they are sleeeping on the job especially on such important issues, please take the appropriate actions. Even if it was DSAI, we need to alert them.

Anonymous said...

we should hire gurkhas as our police force, then, this will solve our crime problem effectively !! 2 cents worth of thought !!