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     Previous FrontPage Edition 30 Jul 2005

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Singapore crime situation in 1st half 2005

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Housebreaking

There were 792 reported cases of housebreaking in the first half of this year, a 48% increase (+258 cases) from the same period in 2004. The significant margin of increase was partially due to the low number of cases reported during the first six months of last year, which were the lowest in the past 15 years.

The increase in break-ins could be attributed to a few reasons. Although there were slightly fewer serial offenders arrested during the first half this year than 2004 (14 vs. 18 persons), they were responsible for more break-ins (199 vs 102 cases).

There were also more break-ins to HDB and private residential premises, as well as education and care centres. Break-ins to HDB and private residential premises increased by 60% (or 123 cases) from 204 cases to 327 cases as compared to the same period last year. Education and care centres saw a 152% increase in break-ins, from 21 cases to 53 cases.

For residential units, there were more cases where perpetrators gained entry through unsecured windows or doors.

Robbery

Robbery increased by 47%, from 414 cases to 610 cases (+196 cases) when comparing Jan-Jun 05 with the corresponding period last year.

Robberies with youth involvement increased by 29%, from 94 cases to 121 cases. Most of these cases involve youth culprits who target other youths for their handphones.

In Jan-Jun 05, 13 serial offenders, responsible for 53 cases, were arrested, as compared to the 3 serial offenders arrested for 21 cases in the same period last year.

Snatch Theft

A total of 313 snatch thefts were reported during the first half of this year. Compared to the same period in 2004, a 59% increase (or 116 cases) was noted.

Youth involvement was a key contributor to the increase in snatch theft, rising by 71% from 21 cases in the first six months of 04 to 36 cases in the same period this year. Culprits in more than half of these cases targeted victims who were either using or holding on to their handphones.

Separately, elderly victims of snatch theft rose by 23 cases (or 70%) from 33 cases in Jan-Jun 2004 to 56 cases in Jan-Jun 2005.

Other theft

Other theft was the primary contributor to the rise in the number of seizable offences. Such cases rose by 66% (+1,511 cases), from 2,274 cases in Jan-Jun 04 to 3,785 cases the same period this year. These were commonly cases where victims lost their belongings after leaving them unattended at various places such as shops, food courts, hawker centres and offices. A major factor for the increase in most of these offences would be the upsurge in cases where handphones were stolen.

Handphone Crime

The Police continue to be concerned over handphone crimes. Comparing Jan-Jun 05 to the corresponding period in 04, a 44% rise (or 738 cases), from 1,685 cases to 2,423 cases was noted. More than half of all these handphone thefts were due to typical cases where victims lost their items after leaving them unattended on shop counters, at hawker centres, food courts, office desks, at places inside the house where culprits could easily reach in and steal the phones (e.g. near the windows), or inside vehicles.

In addition, handphones have also been the primary target for robbers and snatch thieves. This is reflected in the increasing number of robberies as well as snatch thefts in which handphones have been targeted. While such robberies rose by approximately half (53% or 96 cases), snatch thefts involving handphones increased by a significant 80% (or 61 cases).

Youth Arrests

Another area of concern for the Police would be the increasing number of youths arrested for crime. Youth arrests accounted for 19% of total persons arrested for crime. This was slightly higher than the proportion of the youth population in Singapore (15%).

The number of youths arrested increased by 9% (+192 persons) in the first six months of this year as compared to the same period last year. The 2,428 youths arrested during the first half of this year was the highest between 2001 and 2005. This was close to 200 more youths arrested when comparing Jan-Jun 05 to the same period last year.

The rise in youth arrest correlates to the increase in theft related offences as most of these youths were arrested for theft related offences, especially shop theft and other theft. It was noted that those arrested for other theft registered the largest increase (17% or 63 persons).

In general, one out of every five youths arrested during the first half of this year committed a handphone crime. We believe that for the younger generation, handphones have transcended from a ¡®want¡¯ to a ¡®need¡¯. The desire to be constantly seen with new and trendy high-end multimedia handphones could have enticed more youths who could not otherwise afford such phones to turn to criminal means.

Conclusion

Police are concerned with the rise in crime, particularly robbery, snatch theft and housebreaking. In addition, we noted more cases of theft offences and the related concern of handphone crimes

Every small effort counts. If everyone were to be more alert, take more pains to guard our own belongings, and in extension, keep an eye out for each other, we can bring the theft figures down while at the same time, also make the lives of would-be criminals more difficult.

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YEAR
2004
JAN - JUN
2005

JAN - JUN

+/-
%
OFFENCES
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Total Seizable Offences (TSO)3
16,617 21,285 4,668 28.1%
Cheating & related offences
1,395 1,458 63 4.5%
Housebreaking
534 792 258 48.3%
Outraging Modesty
537 632 95 17.7%
Robbery
414 610 196 47.3%
Motor Vehicle Theft
601 594 -7 -1.2%
Snatch Theft
197 313 116 58.9%
Rioting
181 245 64 35.4%
Rape
62 55 -7 -11.3%
Murder
11 7 -4 -36.4%

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3Statistics for Jan ¨C May 2005 have been revised on 24 Jun 2005. Statistics for 2004 are provisional.

Source: www.spf.gov.sg 29 Jul 2005

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