Jump in molestation cases in first nine months

There were 1,168 molest cases reported between January and September, a 19.9 per cent increase compared to last year.
There were 1,168 molest cases reported between January and September, a 19.9 per cent increase compared to last year.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Rise of 19.9% from same period last year; public transport cases see 49% increase

There has been a jump in outrage of modesty cases in the first nine months of this year, according to latest figures released by the police yesterday.

This is an even larger increase than that seen in the first half of the year. There were 1,168 cases reported from January to September - an increase of 194 cases, or 19.9 per cent - compared with the same period last year, police said.

In contrast, it was announced in August that there were 717 outrage of modesty cases from January to June, up 9.5 per cent from 655 in the same period last year.

Of the cases in the first nine months, 152 were committed on public transport, while 76 were carried out at public entertainment outlets.

Public transport cases jumped 49 per cent, while entertainment outlet cases saw an increase of 24.6 per cent from the same period last year.

In August, clinical psychologist Jeanie Chu of Resilienz Clinic had said incidents may take place at such locations due to the accessibility to potential victims, and perpetrators' ease of escape.

But the rising numbers in the first half of the year may not mean an increase in such crimes, said Ms Anisha Joseph, manager of the Association of Women for Action and Research's Sexual Assault Care Centre. Instead, it could mean more victims feel confident in reporting the cases.

  • 1,168 

    Number of outrage of modesty cases reported from January and September.

    152

    Number of outrage of modesty cases committed at public entertainment outlets.

    76 

    Number of outrage of modesty cases committed on public transport.

The police yesterday said eight men, aged between 25 and 68, will be charged this week over separate cases committed between January and July.

Anyone found guilty of outrage of modesty can be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or receive any combination of these punishments.

To prevent cases happening in public transport areas, the police said crime prevention information is disseminated to commuters, while officers from the Public Transport Security Command conduct patrols.

In public entertainment outlets, the police work with operators on additional security measures such as closed-circuit television cameras, while operators prevent overcrowding and ensure sufficient lighting.

Victims should get help from those around them, and call 999 immediately to increase the chances of catching the suspect.

"Take note of the prominent features and attire of the suspect, as well as the direction in which he or she went," the police added.

"If it is safe to do so, the victim or other witnesses of the crime may assist to detain the suspect while waiting for the police to arrive."

Correction note: The story has been updated to reflect the correct age range of the eight men who will be charged this week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2017, with the headline 'Jump in molestation cases in first nine months'. Print Edition | Subscribe