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Police dog patrols lead to fewer crimes

(China Daily)

11:03, September 03, 2011

BEIJING - An 8 million yuan ($1,252,000) investment in dog patrols in Daxing district is already paying off with crime figures down and residents saying they feel much safer.

Zhou Yucong is happy to see police officers with dogs patrolling the area where she lives.

"I feel much safer going home late," said 23-year-old Zhou on Wednesday.

Before the introduction of the dog patrols, Zhou, who works at the Capital Library in Chaoyang district, said she often felt scared going home after dark.

"Previously, dogs were just sent to important crime scenes, but now we hope to make better use of them, especially in downtown or remote areas where drug and criminal incidents often occur during daily patrols," said Li Bing, director of the dog center under the public security bureau in the district.

More than 100 police dogs have been allocated to 21 police stations in the district.

"Both the number and the scale of police dogs are the largest in the capital," said Li.

On Jiugong business street residents would often call the police more than 10 times a day, but since the introduction of the dog patrols the number of incidents and calls has dropped significantly.

Besides their contribution to public security, Cao Liguo, a police officer who has been training dogs at the center for two years, said the dogs also increase the safety of the patrolling officers.

"It is dangerous for officers to take action at night and against gangs. Patrol dogs give us courage and keep us safe," he said.

Cao said the dogs also improve the effectiveness of patrols. For example, at 2:00 am on Aug 23, a patrol discovered two men robbing a construction site.

"As they tried to escape, two dogs stopped them, holding them stationary with their barks, allowing the police officers to apprehend them smoothly," he said.

The police dogs undergo basic training, such as crossing blocks and detaining criminals, before going on patrol.

"I get up at 5:30 am every day to train the dogs, because they are more excited in the morning," he said with a smile. "The most important thing is to teach them to obey my orders so they won't hurt residents when they are working."

Meanwhile, the patrolling officers drive battery-powered cars instead of walking, which also improves their efficiency in tracking down criminals.

Regular dog patrols are just one part of a new police patrol system that was launched in the district at the beginning of the year. According to statistics of the public security bureau in the area, crimes were down 30 percent year-on-year between January and June after the system was put into effect.

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