Tue, Oct 26, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Hu hails Taichung’s crime drop

SKEPTICISMA city councilor told the mayor to stop playing the numbers game, saying that Taichung residents did not seem to feel that public order had improved

By Chang Hsieh-sheng  /  Staff Reporter

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu yesterday responds to a question that the Taichung City Government always acts neutrally when handling candidates’ rally applications.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIN-YA, TAIPEI TIMES

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday said the city government would no longer brook references to the city as a “center of crime,” citing the city’s improved national crime ranking from June to last month.

Hu said during a city government meeting about public order that Taichung ranked 12th among cities and counties in the nation in terms of the number of new crime cases per 100,000 residents for four consecutive months from June to September.

For a number of years under Hu, the city had the most new crime cases per 100,000 residents.

Most cases were major threats to the population, including burglary, robbery and fraud.

From January to last month, the city ranked fourth in the nation, with 757.76 crimes per 100,000 residents.

However, because Taichung’s ranking dropped to 12th from June to last month, Hu said public order in the city had “come to the middle” and, as a result, he could no longer accept criticism of poor public order.

However, the mayor’s enthusiasm — about one month before the special municipality elections — was met with skepticism.

Calling on Hu not to play with the numbers, Taichung City Councilor Chang Yao-chung (張耀中) said the city’s residents knew very well whether the crime situation in -Taichung had improved.

Five out of 10 residents randomly sampled would tell the mayor that they or their family and friends have been victims of theft, fraud or robbery, Chang said, adding that a woman was also -recently robbed and injured in broad daylight.

Taichung City Councilor Tseng Chao-jung (曾朝榮) said government leaders should make every effort to obtain firsthand information from residents regarding their perceptions of public order.

The city still has more cases of theft, break-ins and robbery than any other place in the nation, Tseng said, adding that -Taichung residents did not seem to feel that public order had improved, despite the mayor’s claims.

Problems with the city’s public order will never improve if the mayor’s only concern is an improvement in the city’s so-called ranking, Tseng said.

Earlier this year, Taichung City Police Commissioner Hu Mu-yuan (胡木源) resigned to take responsibility for poor social order and embarrassing revelations that -police officers had been very close to underworld figures during an investigation into the murder of an alleged gang leader, Weng Chi-nan (翁奇楠), on May 28.

Soon after Hu Mu-yuan’s resignation, the mayor said he was determined to deal with the so-called “eight categories of special businesses” that are regarded as covers for criminal activities.

“As mayor of this city, I will not back down from a war against gangsters even if my life is -threatened,” Jason Hu said.

The eight categories refer to entertainment-related businesses, such as KTV clubs, saunas, night clubs, barber and massage shops, dance halls, discotheques and tea houses, many of which are said to be run by criminal groups.

Given its central location and ease of access, Taichung has long held the unenviable reputation of serving as headquarters for criminal organizations.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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