Eagle-eyed Xicheng dama keep streets of Beijing district safe
Updated: 2015-07-13 14:46
By Zhang Xiang(chinadaily.com.cn)
A policeman talks to some dama volunteers during an activity to promote "Lei Feng spirit" in Xicheng district, Beijing, March 5, 2015. [Photo/IC]
While Beijing's Chaoyang residents have earned the title of the "fifth largest intelligence agency" in the world, their peers in Xicheng district prove they are no second.
A total of 11,937 tips have been reported to police by Xicheng residents in the first half of this year, leading to crackdown of 165 criminal cases and 558 public security cases. Among them, 72 were related to terrorism cases, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Sunday.
According to an official from Xicheng's politics and law committee, more than 70,000 residents in the district are involved in community work which includes reporting any suspicious activity to the police, with about 50,000 real-name registered volunteers and the rest comprise of security guards, cleaning workers, etc.
The volunteers are often seen and easily spotted on the street with their red armband or red hat.
Most of these residents are aged 58 to 65 and women take up 70 percent of the total number, gaining the group the nickname Xicheng dama (middle-aged women).
The group members have been allocated to different duties such as patrolling, publicity, guarding and security check, according to their gender, age and physical conditions.
Meanwhile, a manual have been given to them as a guide to deal with various situations. In the "clues to report" section, seven kinds of suspicious people, three types of suspicious articles and three types of suspicious incidents are listed to help them identify the clues. All the phone numbers of 28 police stations in the district are also listed in the manual.
In April, a series of theft cases happened in an office building in Xicheng. After identifying the suspect, policemen informed the nearby volunteers and social workers about the features of the accused. Days later, a whistle blower reported to the police the whereabouts of the man.
From January to April, 753 Xicheng residents have been rewarded for providing important information and the amount reached has 560,000 yuan ($90,216).
While Chaoyang residents made a name by reporting celebrities' drug-taking cases, Xicheng saw no such cases in the key places of the district. Among the 225 drug-related cases solved by Xicheng poice in the first half of this year, only five percent took place within the district, which can be attributed to years of efforts by Xicheng dama.
"We conducted a systematic training for all the community policemen and the social workers and volunteers last July and instruction training for the directors in May," said Wang Hao, a police officer from Xicheng police bureau. "The training was aimed at strengthening the social power to prevent crime and to ensure that every member of the group knew how to collect information."
The training has proved effective in the past year as anti-terrorism information reached 72 in the thousands of clues provided by Xicheng residents.