Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Public thinks crime levels are down

SURVEY Public satisfaction with social order rose to 64.64 out of 100, but satisfaction with the police has fallen, worrying those involved in police training

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The public is more content with the social order but less satisfied with the performance of police officers on duty, according to a survey released yesterday by the National Police Administration.

According to the survey, the public's satisfaction with social order rose to 64.64, out of a maximum of 100, in October from 61.85 in the same month last year.

The results were calculated based on a survey of 21,177 people in 23 counties between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8, in which people were asked to rate, on a scale of one to four, their impression of various aspects of social order. The survey is conducted every three months.

The public's perception of the level of violent crime fell to 57.7 from last year's 59.9; the perceived level of theft and robbery fell to 63.7 from 66. However, satisfaction with the police's performance fell to 70.4 from 70.6.

"As the public feels that society is safer than last year, it shows that the police force has been working harder than before in cracking down on crime," said Lin Tsan-chang (林燦璋), a professor at Central Police University. "However, the more aggressive style of police operations may not please the public very much."

Lin said that police actions such as midnight raids and arrests were likely to disturb the public.

"Sometimes the police force has to knock on people's doors while they are asleep, and noise created by random police checks may be regarded by those being disturbed as unprofessional," Lin said.

Lin said that the drop in public satisfaction with the police did not mean that social order had deteriorated.

"Among all the survey items, only one was negative, regarding the performance of the police when on duty. However, by looking at the rest of the figures on various crime rates, it is clear that the people do feel that the society is safer than before," Lin said.

A Ministry of the Interior official who helped compile the survey said that the public's perception of crime was often influenced by factors other than the actual rate of crime.

"The public perception of social security is dependent on media coverage," said Chen Chin-hung (陳敬宏), the head of the ministry's Statistical Information Service. "For instance, if people see a lot of killings or robberies on TV or in the newspapers, they will think that society is very violent and thus feel unsafe.

"In this survey, we tried our best to quantify different opinions. By reading all the figures, one should keep an objective view that many factors can have an impact on the image of the police.

"For instance, the police's professionalism, capability and service attitude may all determine the impression the public has of the police," Lin said.

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