Continued rise in scam cases pushes up overall Singapore crime rate

Singapore was ranked first in the Gallup Global Law and Order Report in 2020, for seven consecutive years. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Home Team rose to the challenges of 2020, tackling security threats while contributing to the national response against Covid-19.

In its Overview of the 2020 Safety and Security Situation released on Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said there was an increase in the overall crime rate due to the continued rise in scam cases.

It noted that cyber extortion, e-commerce, social media impersonation, phishing and loan scams all saw an increase last year.

Other trends of concern included more fires involving power-assisted bicycles and fatal drink-driving accidents.

Violent extremist ideologies also remained a concern, with the recent case of the 16-year-old student detained by the Internal Security Department.

The year, however, saw the overall recidivism rate among ex-offenders falling slightly, with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) allowing more offenders to undergo rehabilitation in the community while being supervised.

Other improvements included fewer home fires, housebreaking, outrage of modesty and theft-related crimes.

The year 2020 was also the seventh consecutive year that Singapore was ranked first in the Gallup Global Law and Order Report, leading countries like Iceland and Austria.

MHA said that on top of their regular duties, many Home Team officers took on additional roles to support the national response to Covid-19.

More than 7,300 Singapore Police Force (SPF) officers were deployed for related operations, including at government quarantine facilities, ground patrols and enforcement.

Police officers, together with their counterparts from the Central Narcotics Bureau, also supported contact tracers.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority issued over 280,000 stay-home notices and more than 16,000 electronic tamper-proof wristbands, while also ensuring the continued flow of essential goods into Singapore.

Around 1,400 paramedics and emergency medical technicians from the Singapore Civil Defence Force took part in operations at the pandemic front lines.

About 1,100 SCDF officers also helped at swabbing operations at government quarantine facilities, conducted training on the donning of personal protective equipment, and trained personnel at temporary migrant worker dormitories.

On the SPS front, about 16,500 swab tests were done on new inmates.

It helped to conduct over 4,700 virtual court hearings via Zoom, and proactively implemented safety measures, including cohort segregation.

Yellow Ribbon Singapore helped 690 inmates secure jobs before their release via virtual interviews.

On top of all these efforts, another 1,100 officers from across the Home Team agencies were mobilised to support the Joint Task Force, ensuring the daily needs of migrant workers were met during the pandemic.

The SGSecure movement also managed to sustain momentum, engaging more than 90,000 residents in emergency preparedness skills, while 8,000 residents participated in inter-faith activities.

"The Home Team remains committed to keeping Singapore safe and secure, and supporting the national response to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic," said the MHA.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.