November 18, 2015 08:30
Most major crimes in Seoul happen in the districts of Gangnam, Songpa, Yeongdeungpo and Gwanak. The finding comes from data the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency submitted to Saenuri Party lawmaker Kang Gi-yoon last week.
The figures cover five major crimes -- murder, robbery, sex crimes, theft, and assault -- over the past five years.
Most major crimes have surprisingly happened in the upmarket Gangnam District (45,109 cases). Next came Songpa (36,328 cases), Yeongdeungpo (33,551 cases), and Gwanak (32,837 cases).
The districts are densely populated or have many bars and other nightlife spots. Gangnam is the third most populated of Seoul’s 25 districts in Seoul with some 582,000 residents. Songpa has the largest population (670,480 residents) and there are clusters of bars in its Sincheon-dong and Garak Market areas.
But the Dobong, Seongdong and Yongsan districts see relatively few crimes because they are more sparsely populated and mostly residential. Most murders took place in Yeongdeungpo, followed by Gangnam (59), Dongdaemun (51), and Gwanak and Jungrang (48).
The poorer the population the higher the likelihood of killings over money, said Prof. Kwak Dae-kyung of Dongguk University. "It seems that Yeongdeungpo has become unsafe since many low-income Chinese laborers and ethnic Koreans from China settled in the Daerim-dong area," he added.
Gangnam topped the list of sex crimes with a massive 2,113 cases. Next came Gwanak (1,697), Seocho (1,429), Guro (1,245 cases), and Songpa (1,232). Gangnam also came first in terms of theft with 20,176 cases, assault with 22,545, and robbery with 208.
That suggests that policing needs to be overhauled. For example, Jongam Police Station near Korea University in Seongbuk District was established 20 to 30 years ago to deal with student demonstrations but currently handles far fewer criminal cases than other police stations in Seoul.
In contrast, Songpa Police Station already has about 960 officers, the biggest staff among Seoul's 31 police stations, but the arrest rate is the lowest at 49 percent. That means there are probably still too many criminal cases for each officer to handle.
Choi Eung-ryeol at Dongguk University said Songpa Police Station should be split in two to cover a smaller radius each while some other police stations that handle relatively few cases should be merged.
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