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Thu, Dec 17, 2009
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Clubs take aim at vices

By Victoria Barker

GOING clubbing has become risky for legal secretary Shireen Kaur, 24.

On a night out in July last year, she had her handbag stolen in a Boat Quay club.

She recalled: "I'd left it on the table at which my friends were sitting while I was on the dancefloor and, when I got back, it was gone - identity card, mobile phone, wallet and all."

She informed the club's staff and later made a police report, but was unable to recover her valuables, which amounted to around $500.

"I shouldn't have been so careless," she said.

Ms Kaur is a victim of one of the four most common clubbing- related crimes: theft.

This crime, along with rioting, outrage of modesty and drug abuse, is the focus of a new movement organised by nightclub The Butter Factory.

The Safe Clubbing campaign aims to warn clubbers of the various dangers they could encounter, and deter would-be offenders by telling them of the severe consequences of the crimes.

The warnings will be publicised via displays in the club, such as posters, giant stickers, hanging mobiles and informational displays.

These will be emblazoned with tongue-in-cheek questions like "Dancing or stealing?" and "Clubber or fighter?"

Said Mr Woo Tsung Chwen, operations director of the club, which moved from Robertson Quay to One Fullerton: "When we moved to our new location eight months ago, we encountered a rise in (these clubbing-related) crimes. So, we want to... lower these crime rates to make clubbing safer for our patrons."

He declined to reveal the statistics for such crimes at the club, but said that the numbers are "not significant".

Supported by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), the inaugural six-month campaign was launched yesterday, together with NCADA's ninth annual Clubs Against Drugs campaign, themed High On Life, Not On Drugs.

As part of the latter campaign, which will end in February next year, materials - such as stands for reserving tables, mirror decals and stick-on car signs - bearing anti-drug slogans will be displayed and given to patrons in entertainment outlets islandwide.

This year, 150 such outlets are participating in the campaign, compared to 111 in 2006.

It was not carried out last year, and was included as part of a bigger media campaign in 2007.

On top of its new campaign, and its existing security measures - such as licensed security officers and closed-circuit television cameras - The Butter Factory also got its staff to attend a one-day workshop conducted by the NCADA, the Central Narcotics Bureau and the Singapore Police Force earlier this month.

This scenario-based workshop covered topics such as crowd-management tactics and how to identify commonly- abused drugs, and was meant to "further equip staff with the knowledge aimed at deterring, detecting and mitigating such crimes", said Mr Woo.

He added: "The key point is to be vigilant and not take low levels of crime in Singapore for granted. Crime prevention requires the effort of everyone."

vbarker@sph.com.sg


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