Singapore crime rate at a 29-year-low

Singapore crime rate at a 29-year-low

Many people here leave home without worrying about a break- in and leave personal belongings unattended without fear of theft.

Singapore has a worldwide reputation for being safe and latest police figures suggest the situation is improving further.

The crime rate - the number of cases per 100,000 people - has been falling consistently since 2005, reaching a 29-year low of 581 last year. This is a dramatic drop from 1,373 in 1992.

Mid-year figures released last month also showed a decrease in most common types of crime.

Housebreaking, commercial offences, theft and miscellaneous crimes, such as vandalism, all dropped. The cases of harassment and unlicensed moneylending have also fallen significantly over the last three years. However, there were slight increases in crimes against people, extortion and robbery.

Experts point to several major factors keeping crime rates down.

In recent years, the police have tried to improve their interaction with the community, particularly with their Community Policing System (Cops), which involves officers going out more frequently in more casual uniforms and using bicycles.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law Hri Kumar Nair cites the idea, introduced last year, as having made police "more in tune with the community".

He added: "Their presence is felt better, creating a deterrent effect."

Under the Cops scheme, police will install security cameras in lift landings and multi-storey carparks of 10,000 HDB blocks by 2016. More commercial tenants and home owners are also installing them.

National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan said people could be taking better preventive measures. "For example, with regards to thefts, it could be that we now learn to better safeguard private property."

Mr Leong Hin Chong, sales director of security systems firm Stanley Black and Decker, said he has seen a 20 to 30 per cent increase in sales year on year, thanks to low prices and technological advancement.

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