Houston Community News >> Crime Signs on Beijing Restaurants Sparks Controversy

11/30/2007 (BEIJING) -- A decision by Beijing police to put crime warning notices on the doors of some of the city's restaurants has been criticized by restaurant owners for scaring away customers, Saturday's Beijing News reports.

Police have begun putting bright yellow signs that read "Criminal Activities Are Frequent Here" on the front doors of eateries which have developed a reputation for being regular haunts for thieves.

One such sign was affixed to the door of the Ba Zhen dumpling restaurant near the China International Exhibition Center in northeast Beijing, another to a branch of KFC in the same area.

"It's like the restaurants, rather than the policemen, are more responsible for customers' security," said one manager of a rice noodle restaurant on condition of anonymity, adding that the sign, which has been on the door for more than a month, has affected business.

According to the newspaper, many citizens admit that the signs are bad for the restaurant's reputation but feel they are for the best.

"We noticed the warning sign and it was a little bit unsettling at first. But we just paid more attention to our bags while dining," said one couple who were eating at the same rice noodle restaurant.

The police authorities have defended the move, saying the signsare necessary for the protection of the public, at a time when police are beefing up security measures in the capital ahead of next year's Olympics.

"The warning signs show our responsibility towards the customers," Xu Guoqiang, head of a police station in Chaoyang district, told the Beijing News.

"Besides reminding the customers to be cautious of their safety and belongings, the signs can also promote the safety measures taken by the restaurants and warn potential thieves," said Xu.

Regarding the sign on the door of the KFC branch near the exhibition center, the chief of the local police station, surnamed Zhang, said there had been two or three theft cases at the fast food restaurant every month, much higher than the average.

"And the restaurant has not improved its security facilities - four CCTV cameras are out of order," he told the Beijing Youth Daily.

"We usually put warning signs on restaurants where more than two crime cases occur every month," said Jiang Yuwei, deputy head of Jianwai police station, adding that the sign will be removed if no crime is reported within a month.

(Contributed by Xinhua)