Brighter backlanes and more CCTVs to help police keep crime at bay in Geylang

Police officers from Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre patrolling the streets of Geylang Lorong 8 to 14 in the evening of March 3, 2014.  -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Police officers from Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre patrolling the streets of Geylang Lorong 8 to 14 in the evening of March 3, 2014.  -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Geylang's backlanes will be brightened up and more CCTVs will be installed to keep crime at bay, said the commanding police officer of the area on Thursday, after Geylang was flagged as a hotspot for crime in a recent high-profile inquiry.

Superintendent (Supt) Loh Kah Wai, of Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), said police are working with grassroots leaders, Members of Parliament, and government agencies to improve lighting and monitoring in Geylang. This is on top of regular joint enforcement to deter illegal activities in the area.

In the next two years, 200 CCTVs will be installed. There are also plans to light up more than 30 dimly-lit backlanes as vice tends to flourish in dark lanes.

Geylang has been in the spotlight since a recent session of Committee of Inquiry into the Little India riot, during which Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee had highlighted Geylang's crime problem.

The crowd in Geylang, a mix of foreigners and locals, has grown over the years, said Supt Loh. "This presents a lucrative market which attracts, naturally, more unsavoury characters with criminal intentions."

Police have dedicated more resources to the area over the years.

The Geylang NPC has a 160-strong force, compared with an average of 80 to 100 officers in other centres. There are at least 10 uniformed officers patrolling Geylang at any one time, along with plainclothes officers walking the ground. At least 5 patrol cars cruise the area in the day, while it may go up to 8 at night.

Their efforts have led to a "steady decline" in crime, said Supt Loh.

"These efforts - particularly sustained enforcement efforts - will put a strain on our resources. However, we are still in control of the situation.

"But as CP (Ng Joo Hee) has said, more resources will definitely help enhance the policing presence on the ground, and maintain and increase the tempo of our enforcement efforts," said Supt Loh.