Young drug abusers, PMD fires two areas of concern

There were fewer cases of thieves stealing vehicles and things from dwellings and shops last year, but the growing number of scams, especially online, caused Singapore's overall crime rate to go up a notch.

But the rate continues to remain at a low level, the Ministry of Home Affairs said yesterday.

There are, however, several areas of concern, and the ministry cited two: The large proportion of young drug abusers arrested and the growing number of fires involving power-assisted bicycles and personal mobility devices.

The ministry highlighted these ups and downs when it gave an overview of the findings of the agencies under its charge ahead of the release of their annual statistics.

The ministry also declared that Singapore remains relatively drug-free. "This is significant against the backdrop of a more challenging global and regional drug supply situation," it said.

Besides the falling number of theft and related crimes, speeding violations and accidents involving elderly pedestrians were also on the decline.

Similarly, the number of non-emergency medical calls had dipped.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force attributed this to its efforts in educating people about its tiered medical response framework, which puts life-threatening emergencies ahead of less serious cases.

The number of residential fire incidents had also gone down.

On the other hand, more drug abusers were arrested, particularly for abusing new psychoactive substances and methamphetamine.

The proportion of young drug abusers among the new abusers arrested also remained high, said the ministry.

On the roads, more people were killed in motorcycle accidents, red light-running violations and accidents caused by drink driving.

Other figures which were cause for concern included incidents of computer misuse as well as outrage of modesty, especially on public transport and in public entertainment outlets.

The SGSecure movement, which was launched in 2016 to prepare people in the event of a terrorist attack, had gathered "significant momentum" and raised public awareness and preparedness for emergencies, said the ministry.

"Our community is now more aware of the terror threat and the role they play in the SGSecure movement."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2019, with the headline Young drug abusers, PMD fires two areas of concern. Subscribe