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Seoul eyes drug crimes with more security cameras

4,124 drug offenders caught in Q1; drug offenders in 20s,30s most common

By Park Jun-hee

Published : May 30, 2023 - 14:31

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(Seoul Metropolitan Government) (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said Tuesday that it would monitor drug-related offenses more closely by installing and renewing old surveillance cameras across the city.

The city government will add 2,096 surveillance cameras and restore 1,531 old security cameras in 25 districts. Currently, there are 87,884 surveillance cameras in Seoul as of December 2022, where related personnel is working in real-time to detect drug crimes.

With the upgrade, the metropolitan government said the security cameras would be able to closely monitor the inflow of drugs in densely populated areas and gray zones and immediately respond to alleged drug activities.

Separately, the city government said it would also clamp down on social media to censor drug content on various platforms, as well as portal sites. The move comes as most illegal drug trades are made online, and students are being exposed to drug-related content through the internet.

As South Korea is grappling with a growing number of drug-related offenses, the number of drug offenders in the first quarter hit an all-time high.

According to the latest report by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday, the prosecution cracked down on 4,124 drug offenders in the first four months of this year -- the largest number the country has ever reported -- up 1,044 from last year’s 3,080.

The statistics also showed that drug offenders in their 20s and 30s were the most common, indicating that the country’s younger generation has become the leading demographic for drug use, followed by those in their 40s and 50s.

Psychoactive medications, which are used to stabilize mental status or behavior, were the most commonly used by drug offenders across all age groups, followed by cannabis and other illegal drugs.