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Published: 07 Feb 2013 12:08PM (Singapore)
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Fall in crime cases for 2012
House-breaking, robbery and murder cases are at an all-time low in 20 years, with notable decreases in unlicensed money-lending and youth-related crime. Initiatives against key crime concerns for 2012 such as lucky draw and kidnap scams, bicycle thefts and outrage of modesty will continue into 2013.
 
By Charissa Tan

Singapore’s overall crime rate in 2012 fell by 2 per cent as compared to that in 2011, as announced by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in their annual crime report released on 6 February 2013.

In 2012, a total of 30,868 cases were recorded, as compared to the 640 cases more that had been filed in the previous year.

The 2012 crime rate is the lowest in 29 years.

Based on Singapore’s population, the crime rate last year fell to 581 crimes per 100,000 people, compared to the 608 per 100,000 people in 2011.

Registering a 20-year low are violent property crimes, murder cases and housebreaking and theft-related crimes.

Violent property crimes fell from 443 cases in 2011 to 391 cases in the last year. 

The bulk of violent property crimes—robbery cases—saw a significant drop of 27 per cent from 394 cases in 2011 to 286 cases in 2012.

There were 175 recorded days without robbery cases filed in Singapore, while 163 days were recorded to be free from snatch theft reports in 2012.

Together, this translates to 80 days free from confrontational property crime in Singapore.

Housebreaking and related crimes fell by 16 per cent, to 596 cases in 2012.

Notably, SPF nabbed 25 serial housebreakers responsible for at least 300 cases last year.

This includes the October 2012 arrest of members of the South American syndicate, which targeted private housing estates island-wide.

1992 was the year that recorded the highest number of housebreaking cases in the past 20 years, with 3,003 cases.

From left to right: Director of Operations Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Lim Kok Thai, Director of Public Affairs Assistant Commissioner (AC) Ng Guat Ting and Director of the Criminal Investigation Department SAC Hoong Wee Teck at the annual crime report 2012. PHOTO: Tan Chiez How

Crimes which have also recorded notable decreases are unlicensed money-lending and youth-related crime, with a 24 per cent drop to 8,988 cases and 5 per cent fall to 3,320 cases respectively last year.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) Hoong Wee Teck, Director of Criminal Investigation Department said: “Police also have zero tolerance for those who conduct harassment by deliberately setting fire, vandalising vehicles or insulting another’s religion.”

“We are determined to track down every culprit responsible for such brazen acts and subject them to the full brunt of the law,” he added.

Commercial crimes, which consist of cheating, payment card frauds, also recorded a 10 per cent fall, from 3,880 cases in 2011 to 3,483 cases last year. Lucky draw and kidnap phone scams is one area the Police are concerned about.

The amount of money lost through a series of lucky draw phone scams has risen from S$6.4million in 2011 to S$7.4million last year, despite the marginal fall from 183 cases in 2011 to 181 cases last year.

“This is particularly alarming, as we are talking about one person losing as much as $700,000 per scam,” said AC Ng.

Three victims have lost at least S$720,000 each.

Assistant Director from the Commercial Affairs Department Lim Lu Ern revealed more information about the modus operandi and tactics of several lucky draw scams.

“Recently perpetrators have been using luxury items such as cars and air tickets to draw victims into the scams, and would then suggest to the victims to convert the items into cash prizes,” said Mr Lim.

These scams are also getting increasingly well-planned.

Perpetrators will call weeks in advance to ask victims to participate in their ‘lucky draws’, and then call again later to inform the victims about ‘winning’ a prize.

“To lend credibility to their scam, they will also cite actual company names,” warned Mr Lim.

“Our message is: be vigilant. There have been so many cases of victims receiving calls that they’ve won prizes of about S$1-S$2 million. If the information and attraction is too good to be true, call us,” said AC Ng.
 

GRAPHICS: Singapore Police Force

Another worry is the increase of outrage of modesty cases on buses and trains to 153 cases last year, up 39 cases from the 114 cases recorded in 2011.

To combat this rise, the Police will continue to remind the public to adopt preventive measures.

Public education materials such as posters, banners and advertorials will be made more visible in crowded public places where culprits are likely to strike, such as train stations, bus stops and entertainment spots.

SPF will also continue with their other community engagement initiatives in their constant battle against specific crimes, such as phone scams, unlicensed money-lending and youth-related crime.

“The youths form the pillar of our future. Their involvement in crime requires a multi-agency approach to be taken for lasting results. The Police will continue to work closely with our counterparts in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development for a holistic approach to deal with youth crime,” said Director of Operations SAC Lim Kok Thai.

SAC Lim also acknowledged that good community support in spreading crime prevention messages and public vigilance in identifying suspicious persons, together with strong public education, have contributed to the fall in crime cases for 2012.

“It is really the effort of everyone. First and foremost, our officers work very hard on the backend to solve these cases, but more importantly the community plays a very big role in preventing, deterring and detecting these cases that happened.”

A point AC Ng reiterated and hopes Singaporeans can help share “We have achieved much, but the achievement is not possible without the community. While the Police will strive to do better, we need the community to be vigilant and be our eyes and ears,” she said.

 

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