Monday, February 13, 2012

2011 foreign crime statistics

The Korea Times published an article titled "Police to crack down on foreign criminals" (you mean they weren't before?). Worried about terrorist attacks by foreigners at an upcoming Nuclear Security Summit,
Police also plan to deploy more officers to areas highly populated with foreign nationals at night and on weekends to deter possible criminal activities.

"Foreign gang members tend to be most active after sunset or on weekends when fewer officers are on duty," the official said.
Ignoring the Discovery Channel-esque quality of that last sentence, wouldn't that be when most criminals are active? Or do Korean gangsters act in broad daylight because of their 'special relationships' with the police?

The Times didn't publish all of the statistics from this story found in the Korean language press. Using the Hanguk Ilbo's article, let's break down the stats: In 2010, 22,543 people out of 1,261,415 foreigners in total were arrested - a crime rate of 1.787%. In 2011, 26,915 people out of 1,395,077 foreigners in total were arrested - a crime rate of 1.929%. As the article notes, the number of foreigners arrested went from 22,543 to 26,915 - an increase of 19.3%. The foreign population at that time grew from 1,261,415 to 1,395,077 - an increase of 10.6%. And, for the more pertinent figure, the crime rate among foreigners went from 1.787% to 1.929% - an increase of 7.94%.

The article lists Itaewon, Daerim-dong in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Garibong-dong in Guro-gu, and Wongok-dong in Ansan as as 'the four main areas where foreigners are concentrated.' It says that in 2010 2,730 people were arrested in those areas, and in 2011 3,432 people were arrested - an increase of 25.7%. It should be noted that those arrested there in 2010 made up 12.1% of the total number of foreigners arrested that year, while in 2011 they made up 12.75%, so there hasn't been a huge increase in the share of crime that people living there commit (only an increase of 5.3%). It also said that out of a total of 3,704 people arrested for violent crimes, 830, or 22.4%, of those arrested lived in the 'four main areas.' As well, 50 out of 84 wanted foreign criminals are assumed to be living in those areas. The Times didn't bother to mention the four areas, describing them only as 'Itaewon and other districts.' The Times did finish on a fair enough note, however:
The number of crimes committed by non-Koreans here has soared over the years in line with the growing number of foreign residents, which has reached close to 1.4 million as of 2011, accounting for about 2.7 percent of the country's population.
I haven't seen any statistics for the Korean crime rate last year, but in previous years the foreign crime rate has been about half that of the Korean crime rate.

As for Itaewon, I'll be delving into a bit more of its history, and Korean perceptions of it, tomorrow.


Asia Pundits said...

I did some writing on this story over at my site. Perhaps you could find the actual crimes the people arrested were charged with and translate them because the media has been too lazy to do it. -

matt said...

The Marmot translated more here. What's not mentioned is the increase in violent crimes (which would be more important than, say, driving offenses, which make up most of the crimes). It's hard to make comparisons, since we don't know anything about the Korean crime rate and whether it is increasing or decreasing, but there does seem to be an increase in the crime rate in recent years, which is something that police should be concerned about.