Ministry of Public Security Releases 2004 Crime Statistics

February 10, 2005

According to Ministry of Public Security statistics released February 3, public security agencies filed 4,718,000 criminal cases in 2004, a 7.4 percent increase over 2003. More than 86 percent of the total cases filed, or 4,060,000 cases, involved property crimes. However, the number of filed cases involving explosions, arson, and rape reportedly declined 28.3 percent, 12.9 percent, and 9.8 percent, respectively, compared with 2003. Of the cases filed, 2,468,000 were solved, a 5.5 percent increase over last year, including 88.4 percent of cases involving violent crimes. The MPS also claims to have investigated more than 5,366,000 "public order" cases. Public order offenders are often punished by the MPS and not prosecuted in the criminal justice system. In its announcement, the MPS pledged to "persist in upholding the strike hard policy without wavering, maintain heavy pressure on criminals from start to finish, gradually improve crime fighting and prevention capacity, and carefully guard against and severely strike at criminal activity."

It is unclear whether the statistics cited above represent an improvement in law enforcement capacity or simply reflect an increase in crime. Public security officials have been under public pressure over the past year to demonstrate improvements in crime-fighting capacity while at the same time addressing problems such as torture and corruption within their own ranks (see related story here). According to a Xinhua report published last year, only about 42 percent of the 4.39 million crimes filed in 2003 were solved.