Crime is rated as the number one concern among Malaysians, beating even economic troubles, a survey has found.

A nationwide study organised by the International Islamic University Malaysia's (IIUM) Communication Department has found out that Malaysians are concerned about crime the most, even more than economy.

 According to IIUM Prof Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arabi Idid, the survey held from 6 to 14 April showed that one in every three adult respondents think that crime had turned into be a national problem.

"While the results of a survey in March 2008 found that the state of the economy was the major anxiety among Malaysians, this has slowly given away to concern over crime," Star quoted Syed Arabi as saying.

He also said that after the armed incursion in Lahad Datu, Sabah Malaysians identified security as the second major concern in the period between March and April 2013. However, there was a significant drop in this perception by April (15%) as compared to March (25%).

Syed Arabi also appreciated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's recent declaration of war against crime and call for people to empower themselves and unite against it, saying that it was timely, the Star report said.

Speaking at the launch of 'United Against Crime' campaign, the prime minister had called for the support from all walks of society to prevent the social evil. "I believe, support from the community is the most important basis that can bring success to our efforts to combat crime," Malaysia Insider quoted the PM as saying.

"This is a war which will only be successful if all levels of society uphold and support the effort. "If we are not united in combating crime, crime will haunt us."