Number of scams, PMD-related fires, traffic accidents involving the elderly up in 2019: MHA

A sharp increase was recorded in the number of fires involving personal mobility devices last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - While the Republic has been ranked first in law and order in a Gallup survey of 142 territories, there remains several trends of concern in drug abuse, road traffic accidents and scams, said the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday (Feb 4).

Home Team agencies are expected this month to announce its annual statistics on the safety and security situation for 2019.

A Global Law and Order report by American analytics company Gallup released last November gave Singapore the highest score for 2018, ahead of Norway, Switzerland and Finland.

However, overall crime rate increased slightly last year, mainly due to an increase in scams, which is one of the areas of concerns that remain, said the ministry.

The proportion of new drug abusers also remained high last year, despite a decrease in the number of heroin abusers arrested.

This was due to more of them being arrested for abusing new psychoactive substances and methamphetamine, also known as Ice.

The number of road traffic accidents involving elderly pedestrians also went up significantly, said the ministry. There was also a rise in the number of red-light running accidents.

Speeding-related accidents and accidents involving motorcycles also increased slightly, said MHA.

A sharp increase was recorded in the number of fires involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) last year.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said last December that there were 73 PMD-related fires in the first nine months of the year - the highest in five years.

Following a spate of PMD-related fires last year, the Government brought forward by six months a deadline requiring PMDs to be certified safe, to July 1 this year.

Meanwhile, the rising number of scams led to an increase in overall crime rate last year. MHA did not elaborate on the types of scams.

Outrage of modesty cases remain areas of concern, said the ministry , without providing detailed figures.

However, there were some positive trends seen last year, such as a fall in the number of cases of motor-vehicle and related theft, snatch theft, robbery and housebreaking.

Road traffic accidents resulting in fatalities, as well as the number of such fatalities, also saw a decline. So did the number of drink-driving accidents, said MHA.

The drug situation remains under control, despite a "challenging global and regional drug situation", with the overall recidivism rate among ex-offenders remaining low and stable.

There was a fall in the number of immigration offenders arrested and in contraband cases detected at Singapore checkpoints.

Fires in residential premises and non-emergency and false alarm medical calls also fell, thanks to the SCDF's public education efforts, said MHA.

The ministry said that more people were participating in SGSecure programmes and picking up emergency preparedness skills.

In a survey conducted by the Government last year, nine in 10 residents said they were committed to helping others affected by a terrorist attack, while six in 10 residents said they were familiar with at least one emergency preparedness skill, such as improvised first aid.

"The Home Team will continue to work with partner agencies to make participation and training opportunities for individuals and institutions more accessible, to enable the community to become more united and resilient in the fight against terrorism," said the ministry.

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