It is a familiar story of how tourists or even local become the victims of opportunistic theft. A drunken tourist walking home at night or even just a local carrying their purse in the market have all to familiar stories.
"I was in the market and two guys grabbed my purse and ran away no body even helped" or
"I was walking back home it was quite late, but it was only 5 mins to my hotel, when I was robbed losing a small amount of cash but also all my credit cards and passport."
Yes it seems that there has been a surge in theft in the Cambodian Capital. The reason for this could well be the economy. A lot of local people talk about the factories closing down and many jobs being lost. People do have to eat so they may turn to easy pickings, tourists or even locals who have let there guard down. Or it could just be in Cambodia the police don't really enforce the law on the locals so some people see opportunistic theft as an easy way to make a quick buck! I have heard of stories and even been the victim of asking for police help after being mugged and there is very very little help offered. In fact they cannot do much even security guards who see muggings taking place are very unlikely to get involved.
Saying all of this and whatever the reason for the increase in crime in Phnom Penh recently the city is much safer than it used to be. Tourist however should be careful and think twice about walking home late at night after a night out or taking one of those motorbike taxis with a driver you don't know! They could take you anywhere. This especially applies to women traveling alone as the locals see foreign women as easy targets where you are less likely to fight back and they may even be the risk of sexual assault.
Phnom Penh is a city and every major city has its fair share of crime so the standard precautions apply. Don't try to be too flashy or walk about with your wallet in your back pocket or a fancy looking watch on your arm. If you must be walking around at night try to keep to the main roads and in groups, but preferably take a tuk tuk from one place to another. Try not to leave your bags unattended at hotels or other venues and don't carry all your money with you!
If you take some standard precautions you will find your trip to Cambodia will be pleasurable and you will return home with great memories !!