SHANGHAI -- In a bid to curb pick pocketing in subways, all local trains in Shanghai will be fitted with surveillance cameras by the end of 2009, the police said Wednesday.
"Each subway car will be installed with three cameras and each train with about 20 cameras. The aim is to leave no chance for pickpockets to get away," Feng Bo, an official of the rail traffic department of Shanghai's municipal public security bureau, was quoted as saying by a local news portal.
About 1,300 suspects were caught pick pocketing and stealing in the city's subway stations and public buses in the first 11 months of this year.
That is two-thirds the number of thieves caught in the entire city during the period, police said.
Thirty percent of the thefts occurred inside trains, police said.
Nearly 40 percent of Shanghai's population uses the subway system every day, up from 18 percent in 2007.
Before the Beijing Games, 161 subway stations and 1,570 public buses were fitted with more than 7,000 surveillance cameras, which effectively reduced the number of thefts, police said.
In August alone, thefts in buses dropped by 38 percent, while surveillance cameras in buses helped the police uncover over 30 cases of theft.
Police said passengers are recorded at every exit, turnstile and platform, with 30 cameras installed at each subway station.
Last month, 112 pickpockets were nabbed from subway stations, which is 24.6 percent lower than October and 18.3 percent lower year-on-year, it said.
More buses will be installed with surveillance cameras before the 2010 World Expo, Xiang Jun, deputy director of the transport sub-bureau of Shanghai police, said.
"The number of plain-clothed policemen patrolling subway stations and trains will be increased," he said.
With the year-end nearing, Xiang warned commuters using the subway to be extra cautious at ticket counters, turnstiles and train doors.
"Most thefts are reported before and during the Spring Festival," Xiang was quoted as saying in the Shanghai Morning Post yesterday.
Feng said pickpockets often targeted men in the 30s, who carry valuable items.
(China Daily 12/18/2008 page4)