Engaging residents pays off for Ang Mo Kio police unit

Engaging residents pays off for Ang Mo Kio police unit
Central Police Division commander DAC (NS) Lionel Chai (left), and Ang Mo Kio Division commander Leon Chan were among leaders whose units won top policing awards.

SINGAPORE - Petty crimes such as theft and housebreaking used to be a problem in Singapore's largest police jurisdiction, Ang Mo Kio, with its more than 1.4 million residents.

But outreach programmes that teach residents how not to fall prey to such crimes have paid off, leading to a 61 per cent drop in these two crimes in the division. Overall, crime fell by 16 per cent, or by 916 cases last year compared with 2012.

The sterling results have helped the division win a top policing award, the Best Land Division award, for the second year running this year.

The unit used to be helmed by Assistant Commissioner Keok Tong San, who recently left the force.

Superintendent Leon Chan, 33, is now leading the 1,200 officers, who serve seven housing estates under the division's jurisdiction.

Supt Chan, who received the award on behalf of the division from Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran at the Home Team Academy last week, attributed the drop in overall crime in Ang Mo Kio to both teamwork and the "heartland" division's commitment to community engagement. Overall crime in Singapore fell by 4.3 per cent last year, compared with 2012.

With crime being less rampant now, it is hard to stop crimes as they are being committed, said Supt Chan, adding that crime in Singapore reached a 30-year low last year, according to latest police statistics.

"So, we are investing a lot more into helping people to protect themselves from becoming victims of crime," he added.

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