Johor police on Sunday sought to quash the "exaggerated" perception that the state is unsafe, and that the Malaysian authorities were sloppy.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdul Aziz Ahmad said crime rates in Johor are on track to fall by 7.4 per cent this year from around 19,000 cases last year - an improvement from 26,624 in 2008.
He added that of the 19,000 cases last year, "only" less than 500 involved Singaporeans. This was despite the 17 million Singaporean entries to Johor last year, said the ACP, who is head of administration at the police headquarters in Johor Baru.
He was speaking at a crime prevention talk organised by the Johor-Singapore Community Care Association in JB.
During the lively hour-long address, ACP Abdul Aziz maintained that it was impossible to achieve zero crime. But he conceded that 70 per cent of crime in the state occurs in JB, its capital.
"People are coming in for better living, and for all types of investment," he said.
"We're having a conflict between prosperity and security."
After Johor was identified as a "hot spot state" for crime in 2009, with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Selangor, RM2 billion (S$784 million) was pumped into Johor by the Malaysian government to beef up the police force.
Now, there are 8,675 policemen - one for 663 people, said the ACP. Nearly 5,700 auxiliary police have also been trained.