A group of Jurong West residents are selflessly giving up their night-time sleep to patrol the neighbourhood – on bicycles.
From 11pm to 5am three nights a week, Citizens-on-Patrol Hotwheels will take to the streets to make sure fellow residents stay safe, complementing the work of the police.
The idea is the first of its kind to be implemented in Singapore and the volunteers will also carry out foot patrols twice a week.
The Hotwheels programme was rolled out on Saturday along with the third phase of the Community Policing System (Cops) at Jurong West Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC).
This will see more NPCs taking up Cops, which was first launched in May last year, and will involve officers – dressed in bermuda shorts and polo shirts – interacting more closely with the public.
Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC Tharman Shanmugaratnam said: “We are well provided with the bicycles and other devices, but the most important thing is not the equipment, but the spirit of partnership between residents themselves and the police.”
Chairman of the Jurong Spring Community Emergency and Engagement Committee Rawi Hj Tuki said the patrols are useful because they act as deterrents to potential criminals.
The self-employed 55-year-old recounted one incident in which he prevented a man from breaking into a donation box at a market in the district.
The volunteers will patrol an area that covers more than 90 blocks and inform the police when they set off. Officers will update the Hotwheels team on crime trends in the area so they know where and what to focus on.
Bicycle theft and unlicensed moneylending are two current causes for concern there. The group’s 30 volunteers are aged between 40 and 72, the oldest being retiree Nancy Low, who conducts foot patrols between 7pm and 10pm.
She said: “I joined for the sake of security of the community – not just for my loved ones, but everyone.”