JOHOR BAHRU - Johor state is no longer crime-ridden, and the crime rate there has fallen steadily over the past five years, its police said.
And to help people contact the authorities more easily for crime matters, there is now an app for users to contact Johor police easily.
Speaking at an event in the Malaysian state's capital, Johor Baru (JB), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Abdul Aziz Ahmad said the crime rate has dropped by 7.4 per cent this year, compared to last year.
"We are now changing. We are going towards a safer Johor for living, for investing," he said.
He was addressing about 60 people, including several Singaporeans living in JB, at the Crystal Crown hotel for an event organised by the Johor Singapore Community Care Association to address safety concerns in the state after reports of robbery and snatch theft.
But should a Singaporean be in a fix in JB, he will now find it easier to contact a police officer, the JB police headquarters' head of administration added.
This is because of a free smartphone application, called Community Alerts, that has been made available since February.
Through the app, users living, working or visiting Johor, including Singaporeans, can contact police there for help with crime matters with just a few button presses. Police are said to be able to track the location of the user and respond within 15 minutes.
When users download the app for iOS and Android from the iTunes App Store and Google Play respectively, they will have to fill up a form with personal details, such as their passport number and contact details.
ACP Aziz said that while there have been thousands of alerts through the app, not many have been from Singaporeans. He said this might be because they are not aware of the app yet.
At least 50 criminals have been caught red handed through the use of the app.
He added that special attention is generally given to cases in which victims are Singaporean.
"When there are Singaporean victims, an assistant superintendent of police with at least 20 years of experience will be investigating the case," he said.
While there is no official figure on the number of Singaporeans living in Johor, ACP Aziz said there were about 17 million visits by Singaporeans last year.
Singaporean victims made up just under 3 per cent of the close to 19,000 cases of crime in the state of Johor last year, he said. Mr Fairuz Mohamed, 34, a Singaporean civil servant who travels to JB frequently and has experienced theft on one of his visits, welcomed the app.
About two years ago, his Super 4 motorbike worth $12,000 was stolen in a little more than two minutes. He did not recover it, although he made a police report.
But Singaporeans who live there are not worried about crime.
Mr Jani Ahmad, 55, who owns a business in JB and has been living there for three years, said he has not encountered crime. "It's safe here, as long as you obey the laws and take care of your belongings."
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