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Macao’s crime rate surged by 18 percent in the first quarter

Property crime made up more than half of the total amount of crimes recorded, while fraud-related cases saw the fastest rate of increase
  • More people are falling victim to scammers, while the post-pandemic return of visitors has presented more opportunities to felons

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UPDATED: 29 May 2024, 4:38 pm

Crime in Macao witnessed a significant increase during the first quarter of 2024, according to figures published by the Public Security Police (PSP). 

Law enforcement handled 3,548 criminal cases over this period, an increase of 542 cases or 18 percent year-on-year. In comparison to the first quarter of 2019 – the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic – the numbers represent an increase of 5.5 percent or around 540 more criminal investigations. 

According to the PSP, the jump in crime is mainly due to a sharp rise in the number of telephone and online scam cases. Fraud experienced the highest rate of increase, growing around 51 percent year-on-year, with a total of 656 cases.

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said “the most important reason [for the growth] is that many people do not watch the news, so they do not understand what is happening. The second reason is that many people think that the scams do not concern them, so they believe they will not be deceived.” 

Property crimes, meanwhile, accounted for the bulk of the crimes registered, amounting to almost 62 percent of the total. There were 2,186 cases in this category, an increase of almost 24 percent in comparison to the first quarter of 2023. 

[See more: Macao’s crime rate hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels]

Gaming-related crimes also rose 1.2 fold from 193 cases last year to 351 cases in the initial three months of 2024. 

Pedestrian traffic violations in the first quarter jumped by 6.3 fold year-on-year, registering a total of 3,005 cases. 

Several types of crime saw a decrease however, including crimes against the person, which showed a drop of 1.4 percent. Crimes of disturbing the peace fell by around 12 percent and criminal damage saw a drop of almost 7 percent. 

According to the authorities, the CCTV system around the city supported law enforcement in the investigation of over 2,300 cases, including robberies and arson. Currently, the SAR authorities operate around 1,700 surveillance cameras, with more planned for installation. 

Since the lifting of pandemic restrictions, Macao has seen its crime cases skyrocket, with the PSP reporting a 25 percent increase in the crime rate last year.

UPDATED: 29 May 2024, 4:38 pm

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