GUANGZHOU: More efforts will be made to keep the provincial capital of Guangdong safer this year, the city's mayor said Sunday.
In his government work report to the deputies of the annual municipal people's congress, Zhang Guangning said the city government will put the safety of its citizens as its top priority and boost public security and social order.
"Among other things, Guangzhou will keep an iron-handed approach against gang-related crimes as well as crimes of severe violence, while continuing efforts aimed at social evils such as prostitution, gambling and drug addiction," the mayor said.
He said the city will increase funding to that effect. Measures include improving video surveillance, community work, emergency-response, and introducing state-of-the-art crime prevention and control.
Guangzhou will set aside 4.48 billion yuan ($624 million) for public security projects this year, accounting for 17.8 percent of the city's budget.
The city had spent 4.3 billion yuan on similar projects last year.
Guangzhou, which many view as a city long plagued by a public security problem partly due to a large migrant population, installed more than 100,000 video cameras as part of a security monitoring system citywide last year, adding the total number of devices to 212,674.
Recent figures by the Guangzhou public security bureau showed that Guangzhou's crime rate last year fell 15.8 percent from 2006, with the total number falling below 80,000, the first time since the year 2000.
Peng Peng, a researcher with the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said the city government's efforts to improve public security have been paying off.
Citing a recent survey by Sun Yat-sen University, Peng said Guangzhou citizens' sense of safety rose by 11.2 percentage points from the end of 2006, while their satisfaction of public security rose by 35.8 percentage points, with 86.7 percent of the interviewees feeling safe.
Respondents also ranked public security top of the city's five social issues that have witnessed the greatest improvement in the past five years.