Crime in Singapore
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Crime rates in Singapore are some of the lowest in the world. As of 2016, the greatest domestic vice concern remains as commercial offences over the Internet, with a 47 percent increase between 2014 and 2015.
In December 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "I don’t think that is fair or justifiable because their (foreign workers) crime rates are, in fact, lower than Singaporeans in general." In January 2014, Mrs Lina Chiam of Singapore People's Party asked in Parliament, the breakdown of crimes committed by Singaporeans, permanent residents and foreigners respectively between 2009 and 2013. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean replied that during the period, more than 18,000 persons were arrested each year. Of which, 20% were foreigners with arrest rate of 272 per 100,000 foreigners, while the arrest rate for residents was 385 per 100,000 residents. No breakdown between Singaporeans and permanent residents was given.
Police statistics released in the year 2016 suggested a four per cent increase in overall crime with 33,608 cases from a population of more than five million. Between the year 2014 and 2015, there was an observed statistical decrease in violent or serious property offenses, housebreaking, theft and unlicensed moneylending harassment.
However, there was a noteworthy increase in awareness about scamming in 2015. From just 66 credit-for-sex scams in 2014, the number increased to 1,203 within 2015, with the reported victims being cheated a total of around S$2.9 million. The largest amount of money scammed include S$74,000 in a single case. A fraud syndicate was busted in China during December 2015 when a total of 43 were arrested from scams operated from Wechat call centres in China.
During the same period, internet love scams where women were the primary target, also rose from 198 in 2014 to 383 in 2015, involving around S$12 million in total. The largest amount of money cheated include S$528,000 in a single case.
As suggested by foreign travel advisory from the United Kingdom, petty crime such as pickpocketing and street theft do occur in Singapore although violent crime is deemed rare. Threats of terrorism remain as a major concern, with credit card fraud cases being indicated as another security warning by the United States Department of State. As a constant reminder from western consulars such as the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, penalties for drug offences in Singapore remain severe and include capital punishment for certain cases of possession.
The National Crime Prevention Council of Singapore maintains a web portal Scam Alert that offers scam prevention campaign posters and also encourages victims to come forward to share their stories.
The Neighbourhood Watch Zone scheme was formed in 27 April 1997 and today includes the Citizens On Patrol (COP) initiative, which conducts regular foot patrol with community policing. Officers around each neighbourhood to project police presence and to disseminate crime prevention pamphlet to the residents.
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- Economic crime: people, culture & controls