Crime in Singapore

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A member of Singapore Police Force, in uniform.

The crime rate in Singapore is one of the lowest in the world.[1] There are reports of petty crime such as pickpocketing and street theft which occurs at airports, tourist destinations, hotels and on public transport. Incidents of violent crime are rare in Singapore.[2] There is an increase in credit card fraud in the nation.[3] Mobile phones have in the past been the main target for robbers and snatch thieves. But according to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), mobile phone related crimes have decreased because of public education and stricter law enforcement.[4]

Due to aggressive law enforcement efforts, drug abuse is limited in the country.[citation needed] However, as a transportation and financial services hub, Singapore is vulnerable, despite strict laws and enforcement, as a venue for money laundering.[5] According to the 2007 Global Economic Crime Survey by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), approximately 19% of the companies in Singapore have been victims of economic crime over the past two years which was an increase from 16% in 2005. Among the different types of economic crime, there was an increase in IP infringement, money laundering and corruption and bribery.[6]

Threat of terrorist attack is a matter of concern.[2] The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Government of Australia advised travelers to "exercise caution" because of the high threat of terrorist attack. Terrorists can target Western interests in the country. Potential targets of a terrorist attack include commercial and public areas frequented by foreign citizens such as hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, schools, markets, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas. DFAT further reported that terrorist groups can also target the premises and symbols associated with the Government of Singapore.[7] According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), "Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers".[2]

According to available crime statistics, theft and robbery decreased in the first half of 2006. There was an increase in rape during this time, but it was negligible.[8] During the first half of 2007, motor vehicle theft increased by 25 percent. The Regional Security Officer (RSO) recorded that the total cases of criminal homicides at the end of 2007 was approximately eight. All murder cases during this period have been solved.[4]

Overall crime in the first half of 2008 increased by 1% compared to the total number of crimes registered during the same period in 2007.[9] The Singapore Police Force identified three key crimes in the first half of 2008: phone scams, crimes against the elderly and theft from vehicles.[10] In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2010, Singapore was ranked 1st out of 178 countries for corruption (least corrupt countries are at the top of the list). On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the most corrupt and 10 the most transparent, Transparency International rated Singapore 9.3.[11]