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     Previous FrontPage Edition 23 Feb 2005

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Singapore Crime Situation 2004

Index Crimes

Cheating and related offences7 decreased by 78 cases (-2.7%), from 2,882 to 2,804 cases in 2004. The decrease was mainly attributed to the significant 7.2% drop in cheating offences from 1,450 to 1,346 cases, of which 14 serial offenders8 arrested accounted for a total of 109 cheating cases in 2004. The number of credit card frauds also registered a decrease of 38 cases (-16.5%), from 231 to 193 cases in 2004.

Housebreaking decreased by 100 cases (-7.5%), from 1,337 to 1,237 cases in 2004. The overall decrease can be mainly attributed to the decrease of 225 cases (-33.4%) of break-ins in residential premises. On the contrary, break-ins at industrial premises increased significantly by 107 cases (or +93.0%) from 115 to 222 cases in 2004. This could be attributed to three arrested serial offenders who committed at least 97 cases between Feb 2004 and Jan 2005.

Motor vehicle theft decreased by 73 cases (-6.1%), from 1,190 to 1,117 cases in 2004. More than two-thirds (816 cases or 73.1%) were motor cycles while motor cars made up 10.1% (or 113 cases) of the vehicles stolen. Significant decreases were noted in theft of vans (-37 cases or -44.6%), motor cars (-27 cases or -19.3%), lorries and pickups (-20 cases or -22.7%) and scooters (-16 cases or -24.6%). On the reverse, theft of motor cycles increased by 16 cases (+2.0%).

Outraging of modesty increased by 14 cases (+1.3%), from 1,082 to 1,096 cases in 2004. Of concern is the incidence of outraging of modesty at nightspots. Although this made up a small percentage of total outraging of modesty cases, it has increased by 33 cases from 54 to 87 in 2004. Cases involving contacts via internet and telephone chat lines increased from 7 to 10 cases in 2004. A total of 747 (or 68.2%) of the outraging of modesty cases were committed by offenders unknown to the victims. Less than one-tenth (79 cases or 7.2%) of the cases were of aggravated molestation9.

Robbery decreased by 144 cases (-14.8%), from 973 to 829 cases in 2004. The bulk of the decrease was due to significant drop in lift robberies by 54 cases (-39.1%), from 138 to 84 cases. Of concern was the 24% increase in youth involvement10, from 134 to 166 cases in 2004, occurring mainly at common areas11 of public housing estates. About 61% of the robberies committed by youths were targeted at youths and the items robbed were mainly hand phones and cash.

Snatch theft increased by 42 cases (+10.9%), from 387 to 429 cases in 2004. The increase was mainly attributed to cases committed by serial offenders. There were four serial snatch thieves arrested in 2004, responsible for a total of 29 cases. Snatch thefts committed in common areas increased by 45 cases (+38.8%), from 116 to 161 cases while those in open areas12 decreased by 6 cases (-2.6%), from 233 to 227 cases in 2004. Of concern is the rise in the number of youth victims of snatch thefts. Cases committed against youth victims registered an increase of 38 cases (+86.4%), from 44 to 82 cases in 2004. Most of these cases took place along the streets and common indoor areas of housing blocks such as lifts, void decks and areas around staircases. They were mostly targeted for their hand phones in 61% of the cases.

Rioting13 decreased by 18 cases (-4.7%), from 380 to 362 cases in 2004. The number of rioting cases at nightspots14 decreased by 25 cases (-39.7%), from 63 to 38 cases. Consistent with the previous year, youths were involved in about 41% (150 cases) of rioting in 2004. Rioting cases with youth involvement at HDB blocks increased by 8 cases (+19.5%), from 41 to 49 cases in 2004. Such cases could be a result of more youths congregating in common areas of public housing estates.

Rape decreased by 7 cases (-6.4%), from 110 to 103 cases in 2004. In a majority (or 93.2%) of the cases, the offenders were known to the victims. Cases involving contacts via internet and telephone chat lines dropped to 5 cases in 2004 compared to 11 cases in the previous year.

Murder decreased by 5 cases (-20.8%), from 24 to 19 cases in 2004. All these cases were isolated and unrelated. About 68% (or 13 cases) of them were crimes of passion15 committed mainly as a result of disputes between known parties while 15.8% (or 3 cases) were robbery-cum-murder.

Arrests Made By Police

The number of persons arrested for total seizable offences increased by 1,485 persons (+6.4%), from 23,121 to 24,606 persons in 2004. In particular, more persons were arrested for other theft, from 1,901 to 2,076 persons (+175 or +9.2%); shop theft, from 4,955 to 5,079 persons (+124 or +2.5%); rioting, from 851 to 961 persons (+110 or +12.9%); cheating and related offences, from 1,242 to 1,335 persons (+93 or +7.5%) and robbery, from 364 to 448 persons (+84 or +23.1%). Among other offences that registered increases, drink driving recorded the largest absolute increase of 1,129 persons (+54.2%) due to increased enforcement by Police.

Youths Arrests For Crime

The number of youths arrested for total seizable offences declined by 202 persons (-4.1%), from 4,918 to 4,716 persons in 2004. They accounted for 19.2% of the total persons arrested, compared to 21.3% in 2003. Among them, juveniles16 arrested declined by 118 persons (-4.5%), from 2,619 to 2,501 persons in 2004. Consistent with the previous year, males accounted for 72% of the juveniles arrested. About 79% of the juveniles arrested were students, compared to 82.4% in 2003. The three most common offences committed by juveniles were shop theft (912 persons or 36.5%), other theft (509 persons or 20.4%) and rioting (222 persons or 8.9%).

The number of young persons17 arrested for total seizable offences also declined by 84 persons (-3.7%), from 2,299 to 2,215 persons in 2004. Consistent with the previous year, the proportion of males accounted for three-quarters of the young persons arrested. About 44% of the young persons arrested were students, compared to 38.4% in the previous year. The three most common offences committed by young persons were shop theft (553 persons or 25%), rioting (290 persons or 13.1%) and other theft (275 persons or 12.4%).

Foreigners Arrests For Crime

The number of foreigners arrested for total seizable offences (excluding Immigration Act offences) increased marginally by 14 persons (+0.6%), from 2,417 to 2,431 in 2004. They accounted for about 9.9% of the total persons arrested, compared to 10.5% in 2003. Illegal immigrants and overstayers arrested for crimes, respectively, made up a small 2.5% and 0.4% of the total foreigners arrested. Slightly more than half (or 56.0%) of the foreigners arrested were for theft and related offences, with shop theft accounting for 31.0% of the arrests.
 

Public-Assisted Arrests18 For Selected Major Offences

Members of public contributed to the arrest of 727 criminals involved in outraging of modesty, housebreaking, robbery, motor vehicle theft, snatch theft, murder and rape. These public-assisted arrests accounted for 38.8% of the total arrests in these crimes for 2004, higher than the 37.4% recorded in 2003.

Robbery And Theft Of Hand Phones

Robbery and theft cases involving hand phones taken remain a key area of concern for the Police. The number of such cases increased by 161 (+5.4%), from 2,975 to 3,136 cases in 2004. However, the rate of increase of hand phone crimes had improved when compared with 2003 (+28%) and 2002 (+45%). The number of hand phone crimes increased notably by 167 cases (or +25.1%) from 665 to 832 cases for theft in dwelling (excluding shop theft). The increase in hand phone crimes may be due to the relatively easy disposal of hand phones, as well as the rise in mobile phone penetration19 rate in Singapore, from 83.1% in Dec 2003 to 92.2% in Dec 2004, indicating a larger pool of potential victims. Another reason would be the characteristics of hand phones such as high-end multi-media functions and trendy designs, which make them more attractive to would-be culprits.

CCTVS At Geylang

Police will be extending the public CCTV system to include certain areas of Geylang by end March 2005 to enhance the sense of public safety for residents and businesses. CCTVs have long been recognised for their psychological deterrent effect on potential offenders and have been used traditionally to monitor premises as part of crime prevention and security measures.

The CCTVs earlier installed at Newton hawker centre, Little India and Boat Quay have served as a useful tool to supplement the other safety and security measures undertaken at these public areas. Early detection of potential law and order incidents via CCTV monitoring have allowed resources to respond quickly and diffuse several fights and situations before they escalate. Images from CCTV have also proven useful in gathering additional leads to aid investigations. In two cases of serious assault, images captured led Police to identify and subsequently arrest the culprits.

Feedback from public stakeholders at the CCTV areas has also been positive, with many expressing a greater overall sense of safety and security at their premises. Stallholders and patrons interviewed at Newton hawker centre perceived fewer disputes among hawkers and fewer fights with the CCTVs in place. Some Boat Quay outlet owners also felt that the CCTV system could deter crime and help deter potential terrorist attacks. Shop owners and community entities within the Little India areas under CCTV coverage said they felt safer with fewer fights heard and even backlanes were cleaner
 

Conclusion

The 2004 crime situation continues to be under control, with the total number of seizable offences rising slightly by 3 per cent to 34,480 offences recorded in 2004. Minor crimes such as theft and related offences accounted for much of the increase, and can often be prevented if crime prevention measures are undertaken. The number of arrests made has also increased, and by a greater margin at 6.4%. About 4 in 10 arrests made for selected major offences continue to be public-assisted. Amidst a challenging economic climate, heightened security threat and an ever-changing operating environment, Police have not let up on efforts to deal with the increase in crime.

Police will continue to work closely with National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and their crime prevention committees, the Inter-Ministry Committee on Youth Crime (IMYC) as well as engage the community through on-going Community Safety and Security Programmes (CSSPs) in various crime prevention projects to prevent and contain crime.

It is important to remember that crime prevention is a shared responsibility. The public must remain vigilant and undertake crime prevention measures to safeguard their lives and properties. Together we can make Singapore a safe and secure home for all.
 


7 Cheating and related offences include cheating, criminal breach of trust, counterfeiting of currency, falsification of accounts, forgery, etc.

8 Serial offenders refer to persons committing 5 or more counts of an offence.

9 Refers to Sec 354A of the Penal Code Cap 224 which applies to cases committed in a lift; where the victim is below 14 years of age or where the offender whilst in the commission of the offence, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause death, hurt, wrongful restraint or fears of this nature to the victim.

10 Youth involvement refers to crimes committed by youths aged between 7 and 19 years, regardless of their arrest status.

11 Common areas include lifts, lift landings/ lobby, staircases, void decks, corridors, etc.

12 Open areas include pavements, footpaths, back lanes, streets, car parks, parks, playgrounds, overhead bridges, underpasses, bus stops, interchange, etc.

13 Rioting refers to fighting involving five or more persons.

14 Nightspots include bars, nightclubs, discotheques, pubs, lounges, etc.

15 Crimes of passion refer to non-premeditated offences that occur in the heat of the moment arising from immediate instigating factors such as disputes ranging from money matters, personal/ family matters, work-related, boy-girl relationship, misunderstanding, etc.
 

16 Juveniles refer to persons aged between 7 and 15 years of age.

17 Young persons refer to persons aged between 16 and 19 years of age.
 

18 Public-assisted arrests refer to cases where the public had provided information, made a citizenís arrest, or alerted the police to a crime in progress.

19 Source: Infocommunications Development Authority (IDA), Singapore.

 

Annex A

Cases Recorded For Index Crimes20 2003 And 2004

YEAR
2003
2004

+/-

%

OFFENCE

 

 

 

 

OVERALL CRIME RATE21
799
813
14
1.8
TOTAL SEIZABLE OFFENCES
33,458
34,480
1,022
3.1
Cheating & Related Offences
2,882
2,804
-78
-2.7
Housebreaking
1,337
1,237
-100
-7.5
Motor Vehicle Theft
1,190
1,117
-73
-6.1
Outraging Modesty
1,082
1,096
14
1.3
Robbery
973
829
-144
-14.8
Snatch Theft
387
429
42
10.9
Rioting
380
362
-18
-4.7
Rape
110
103
-7
-6.4
Murder
24
19
-5
-20.8


20 Statistics for 2003 as revised in PIDís publication of Annual Statistical Report on Crime 2003 in Oct 2004. Statistics for 2004 as revised in 4th quarterly revision and are provisional.

21 Crime rate refer to total seizable offences per 100,000 total population.
 

 

   

Source: Singapore Police Force 22 Feb 2005

 

 

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