Two classes of crime hit lowest levels in 20 years

The growing popularity of in-vehicle cameras was behind a 3.5 per cent fall in motor vehicle theft.
The growing popularity of in-vehicle cameras was behind a 3.5 per cent fall in motor vehicle theft. PHOTO: ST FILE

Two crime classes dipped to their lowest levels in 20 years in 2015.

Violent or serious property crime dropped by about 44 per cent to 299 cases, while housebreaking and related crimes fell by about 7 per cent to 333 cases.

Snatch theft, rioting and motor vehicle theft also recorded falls.

The growing popularity of in- vehicle cameras was behind a 3.5 per cent fall in motor vehicle theft. In-vehicle camera footage also provides crucial leads for investigation, police said.

In general, theft and related crimes dropped by about 6 per cent to a 10-year low of 15,645 cases.

The number of unlicensed moneylending harassment cases was also the lowest in 10 years, with about a 26 per cent decrease from 2014 to 4,229 cases.

"The installation of police cameras at HDB void decks and multi- storey carparks has also helped to deter (crime) and provide investigative leads for unlicensed moneylending (harassment) cases," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations and Intelligence) Tan Chye Hee.

  • Advice from police on avoiding scams

  • • Exercise caution when you come across unrealistic bargains.

    • Always check the buyer's or seller's track record, and buy only from reputable sellers.

    • Be wary of strangers who befriend you online. They may not be who they claim to be.

    • Be wary of offers for escort, massage and sexual services on social media. Think twice before making payment using online credits.

    • Do not send money to or buy anything from anyone you have never met.

"Footage from these police cameras has led to the arrests of unlicensed moneylending harassers in 360 cases since 2012."

Such cameras were first installed in 2012. Blocks using them saw a steady decline in harassment cases, with property damage falling by almost 74 per cent from 2013 in over 2,100 blocks with cameras.

Neighbourhood watch groups such as the Citizens on Patrol scheme, which has grown to more than 14,000 members islandwide, have helped boost police presence.

Meanwhile, cyber extortion cases dropped by 66 per cent from 2014 to last year.

Police said besides enforcement efforts, public education and community partnerships are part of the strategy to overcome crime.

"The community is the police's most important partner against criminals and terrorists," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Wilson Lim.

"We will continue to involve the public in our programmes and continue to build on this strong police-community partnership as we keep Singapore safe and secure together."

Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'Two classes of crime hit lowest levels in 20 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe