Crime in Singapore remained low but scams still a significant concern in 2016: MHA

Police officers patrol the area outside People's Park Complex, next to Chinatown MRT station, on Jan 16, 2016.
Police officers patrol the area outside People's Park Complex, next to Chinatown MRT station, on Jan 16, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore remains a safe and secure home as crime remained low and the overall crime rate fell in 2016, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) overview of last year's safety and security situation.

In its report released on Wednesday (Feb 8), MHA said the number of violent and housebreaking crimes, as well as theft, went down as compared to 2015.

It described the overall drug situation as stable, with a slight fall in the number of drug abusers arrested.

The number of immigration offenders arrested remained low, while the number of persons arrested for harbouring and employing immigration offenders fell.

There were fewer fire fatalities and injuries and Singapore's roads also saw lower number of fatal accidents and fatalities last year.

MHA, however, warned that several trends remain a concern.

While the number of commercial crimes decreased slightly, it said scams involving e-commerce, Internet love and impersonation of officials from China were of a significant concern.

The number of new drug abusers has increased, with close to two-thirds of all new abusers aged below 30.

More elderly pedestrians were involved in fatal accidents, while the number of ambulance calls remain on the rise.

The various Home Team departments are set to issue their annual statistics reports in the coming week, which will expand on the trends highlighted in MHA's overview.

 
 

The threat of a terrorist attack also featured high on MHA's agenda. It urged the public to be alert and prepared, and for Singaporeans to stay united and rebound quickly.

Citing the launch of SGSecure on Sept 24 last year, MHA reiterated its call to action for the community to help prevent a terrorist attack.

"We aim to have at least one Prepared Citizen in every household. We have reached out to more than 34,000 households to help them learn how to protect themselves and their families, and how to recognise and report suspicious behaviour or items," MHA said.

MHA also highlighted the launch of the SGSecure mobile app, which has been downloaded by over 210,000 mobile devices to date, and its efforts to spread the SGSecure message in schools.

Since last May, MHA has reached out to 40 secondary schools via the SGSecure mobile exhibition and school assembly talks.

A customised SGSecure-oriented learning resource for primary schools has also been produced for roll-out in 2017.