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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 10 Oct 2005

Bicycle thefts in Singapore


Oral Answer to Parliamentary Question on bicycle thefts, 19 September 05

Dr Ong Seh Hong:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs
(a) if he could provide the statistics of bicycle thefts for the past five years;
(b) whether there is an increasing trend of such thefts;
(c) what are the "hot spots" of such thefts;
(d) what is the plan of his Ministry to overcome such a problem; and
(e) will his Ministry consider the re-introduction of mandatory registration of all bicycles
The number of cases of bicycle theft averaged around 400 cases a year from 2000 to 2004. In the first half of this year, 435 cases were reported.
In the past, Police had sometimes grouped bicycle thefts under theft and other offences. The trend came to Police's attention late last year and has since been closely monitored. This may account for the higher number of cases reported for the first half of this year.
Police has noted the recent increase in bicycle theft cases, and is working with various groups to deal with the problem in a comprehensive manner.
There are no particular geographical locations or 'hot spots' that are more prone to bicycle theft. Bicycle theft cases take place island- wide at areas ranging from common areas of public housing estates to streets, commercial premises, landed residential premises, outside MRT stations and at private apartments or condominiums.
In 2004, 9 out of 10 bicycles stolen in public places were not secured at designated bicycle bays. Instead, the vast majority of those stolen were secured to lamp posts, railings and pipes.
Police has been working closely with grassroots organisations and the local community network to formulate Community Safety and Security Programmes (CSSP) to deter and detect bicycle theft.
One recent example was the "Lock-your-ride, Mark-your-bike - Bicycle Theft CSSP Project" by the Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs), Residents' Committees (RCs) and Neighbourhood Committees (NCs) in Pasir Ris East and West Divisions, and the Pasir Ris Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC).
The CSSP project team developed an education programme to educate bicycle owners on how to protect their bicycles from theft.
This encompassed encouraging residents to use locks and chains to secure their bicycles and introducing a database of bicycle owners and their bicycles in the Pasir Ris area, under which bicycles would be prominently marked with serial numbers to deter theft, and the respective owners' particulars and contact details would be recorded in this database. When a stolen or lost bicycle is recovered, this database will help identify its owner.
Another initiative is a project by Ang Mo Kio Police Division and Temasek Polytechnic to design a bicycle bay lock that locks all the important components of the bicycle. Thus far, this new bicycle bay lock has been implemented in 31 blocks in Sengkang with a total of 180 stands.
Besides engaging the grassroots organisations, Police will continue to work with relevant agencies such as SMRT to install CCTVs at strategic locations at various MRT Stations, like Pasir Ris, Tampines, Kembangan MRT stations, to deter bicycle thieves and detect suspicious activity.
Efforts to engage SMRT staff to look out for bicycle theft have also been helpful, with the arrest of a bicycle thief by Pasir Ris MRT staff on 1 April 05. This initiative is currently being monitored and evaluated for possible expansion to other neighbourhoods in Singapore.
In addition, Police will continue to educate the public through crime prevention exhibitions and house visits, which will be conducted throughout the year.
As to whether we should re-introduce mandatory registration of bicycles, the Ministry of Transport is of the view that such a move would not only be regressive but unnecessarily subject bicycle owners to onerous requirements.
Bicycles have been exempted from registration requirements since 1982 as they are increasingly used for recreational purposes rather than as a mode of transport. Developed countries like UK, Japan, USA, EU countries, Australia and New Zealand also do not require bicycles to be registered.

Source: Press Release 19 Sep 2005

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