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HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s leader strongly endorsed the new security law China’s central government is imposing on the semi-autonomous territory in her speech marking Wednesday’s anniversary of its handover from colonial Britain.

“This decision was necessary and timely to maintain Hong Kong’s stability,” Carrie Lam said.

A pro-democracy political party, The League of Social Democrats, organized a protest march during the flag-raising ceremony preceding Lam’s speech. Participants chanted slogans echoing demands from protesters last year for political reform and an investigation into alleged police abuses.

The law directly targets some of the actions of anti-government protesters last year, which included attacks on government offices and police stations, damage to subway stations, and the shutdown of the city’s international airport. Acts of vandalism against government facilities or public transport can be prosecuted as subversion or terrorism, while anyone taking part in activities deemed as secessionist would also be in violation of the new law.

The new national security law further blurs the distinction between the legal systems of semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which maintained aspects of British law after the 1997 handover, and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system.

Its passage comes after Hong Kong’s legislature in early June made it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order making the law take effect after its approval by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislature, and it has been added to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution.

Under the law, those found guilty of inciting secessionist, subversive, terrorist activities and colluding with foreign forces could face life imprisonment if they are deemed masterminds of such activities.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Criminal activities drop during ‘shelter in place’ order

Editor’s note: This article from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office first ran the July edition of the City of Cupertino Scene.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office—West Valley Patrol Division understands the community is going through an unprecedented and challenging time. The pandemic and resulting “shelter in place” order may be scary for residents. We also understand residents may be more fearful about crime during this unusual time. We’d like to assure residents that the City of Cupertino remains a safe community, and our level of commitment to the community has not wavered. We take pride in utilizing new and different methods to facilitate providing an above average level of service.

Deputies who would normally work at schools as school resource officers have since been repurposed through the creation of an Order Enforcement Unit. These deputies are dedicated to ensuring compliance with the “shelter in place” order, educating people about social distancing, providing and checking for the usage of masks, and depending on the phase, confirming only essential businesses are open and, if so, are also in full compliance with the order.

While office staff is either alternating schedules or working from home, enforcement staffing has not changed, ensuring minimal impact to service levels. Deputies will still afford residents with direct response, maintaining distance where possible and utilizing protective equipment such as face coverings and sanitizers, but will also respond to residents through a phone call upon request. We do not want residents to be discouraged from requesting assistance or reporting crime.

Calls for service have experienced a dip during the “shelter in place” order, which was in effect for all of April. Over the past five years, the total monthly Priority 1 calls for April ranged from three to six. There were four calls involving life-or-death emergency situations in April of this year during the order. Meanwhile, the total number of Priority 2 calls for non-life-threatening crimes saw a 30 percent decrease during the order as compared to April 2019, and there was an 11 percent decrease in Priority 3 non-emergency calls.

Meanwhile, with more families together at home during the order, domestic disturbance calls increased slightly during April of this year as compared to years past. Robberies also saw a slight uptick. Thankfully, diligent deputies and investigators, who continue working investigative leads for all crimes, solved three of April’s four robbery cases.

Commercial shopping centers have been closed through the order, except essential businesses, so the pool of criminal opportunity shrunk when the number of vehicles available to break into decreased at those centers. This accounts for the dramatic drop in the number of vehicle burglaries for the month of April to only four, compared to 29 in April 2019. However, an increase in commercial burglaries seems to have peaked at 16 in March of this year, the highest number in a single month in the last two years. Due to the increase in this particular crime, we have strategically patrolled businesses and adjusted our daily responsibilities so as to deter and catch thieves. Our strategy appears to have worked as the city experienced nine commercial burglaries in the month of April.

With more residents staying home, there was also a drop in the total number of residential burglaries during the order. During March and April, a total of 10 residential burglaries occurred in Cupertino compared to 20 during the same months in 2019. Crooks do not want a confrontation with their victims and so do not want to encounter residents who are home.

With more people staying home and fewer cars on the roads, there were also fewer traffic collisions during the order. There were only 14 traffic collisions in April, equating to a 65% decrease in accidents compared to 40 collisions in April 2019.

Despite the dip in some public safety and crime categories, West Valley patrol is staying busy. Analysts are tracking data related to the order and continue collaborating via email and video meetings to stay abreast of regional crime trends and suspects, including utilizing digital intelligence portals for information sharing.

Detectives also continue teaming up with other law enforcement agencies as they did before the “shelter in place” order went into effect in order to share information, solve cases and arrest criminals. Task force meetings have continued through video meetings, and detectives stay busy with investigations on prior and recent cases.

We are in the business of public safety, so our measure of success is predicated on residents feeling safe. If residents have concerns about crime or safety, we encourage a telephone call or email so that we may discuss concerns and provide information. The West Valley Patrol Division may be contacted at 408-868-6600 or by emailing SHF.WVAdmin@shf.sccgov.org. And as always, sheltering in place or not, we ask that residents continue reporting any suspicious activity immediately by calling 911.

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