Crackdown doesn’t ease fearsPresident Park Geun-hye upon taking office named sex crimes, violence at home, violence at school and food contamination as the four social evils the government would focus on combating. Law enforcement authorities pledged to fight those crimes, yet so far the public cannot feel a big difference. According to a survey by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration on public opinion towards the four crimes, only 24.2 percent of adults and 19.7 percent of teenagers said they felt safe from the four dangers. About half said they felt the country remained unsafe from those threats.
Among the four crimes, people felt most insecure and concerned about sex and school violence. More than two out of three female respondents said they worry about and feel threatened by sex crimes. More than half, or 56.7 percent, of teenagers feared school violence.
According to statistics, there had been significant progress in reining in the four crimes. Police said the rate of arrests for sexual assaults reached 92.4 percent between February and May this year, up from 84.2 percent in the same period in 2012. Thanks to aggressive campaigning, 96 percent of students and parents were aware of the 117 police hotline for school violence. About 82.8 percent said they were willing to report school violence incidents upon witnessing them, underscoring a higher awareness of safety measures against school and teenage violence. Police have concentrated forces to prevent and quickly respond to such crimes.
But civilian feelings of insecurity and anxiety toward social crimes remain high, suggesting that some loopholes in enforcement remain. Sex crimes are still on the increase, which suggests problems remain in how those crimes are punished, as well as preventive measures, follow-up and sex education. Those four crimes can happen to anyone at any time. A state of insecurity could lead to social unrest. Instead of only trying to raise the numbers with a crackdown to please the president, the government and law enforcement authorities should also study practical actions and approaches to ease public unease. They must first try to find out the cause of people’s insecurities and come up with the necessary safety measures.