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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 24 July 2006

Singapore Crime Situation - First half 2006


Aided by greater public awareness and vigilance, overall crime in the first half of 2006 has seen significant improvement, particularly for crimes such as housebreaking and robbery.
However, members of public can help bring crime levels down even further, especially for crimes that can often be prevented, such as theft.
Overall crime reported in Jan-Jun 2006 fell by 15% when compared to the same period last year, from 18,489 to 15,756 cases.
Rape and Murder up in first half of 2006
Murder rose by nine cases, from five to 14 cases in the first half of 2006. All these cases were isolated and unrelated. Twelve out of the 14 cases were crimes of passion1, committed as a result of disputes between known parties. All 14 murders have been solved.
Rape increased by one case, from 55 in Jan¨CJun 2005 to 56 cases in the same period this year. About 95% of all rape cases this year involved offenders who were known to the victims.
Significant Decline in Housebreaking and Robbery
Housebreaking registered a significant decrease, from 805 to 551 cases in the first half of 2006. This could be generally attributed to fewer break-ins at HDB residences (from 229 to 101 cases), private residential premises (from 113 to 77 cases) as well as education/childcare centres (from 55 to 27 cases).
The decline in robbery from 598 to 441 cases could mainly be attributed to a decrease in the number of handphone robberies (from 277 to 195 cases) as well as the related concerns of robberies involving youth victims (from 176 to 106 cases) and youth culprits (from 127 to 60 cases).
Theft remains a concern
The number of theft and related offences2 fell from 11,402 cases to 9,651 cases in the first half of this year.
Other theft, which are commonly cases where victims left their belongings unattended in public places such as shops, eating places, void decks, schools etc, decreased from 3,745 to 2,938 cases.
Meanwhile, theft from motor vehicle dropped from 915 to 613 cases and theft of bicycle fell from 420 to 258 cases. Theft from persons also fell from 467 cases to 306 cases.
Crimes involving handphones being stolen, which was one of the key concerns in 2005, decreased significantly, from 2,423 to 1,962 cases, in the first half of 2006.
Handphone crimes dropped notably for cheating and related offences (from 193 to 89 cases), robbery (from 277 to 195 cases) and theft from motor vehicle (from 126 to 52 cases).
The drop in handphone crimes, despite the continued high mobile phone penetration rate in Singapore3 , may be in part due to enhanced public education on such crimes as well as tighter enforcement against errant second-hand handphone dealers.
The implementation of new police initiatives such as the online database of the IMEI numbers of stolen handphones for easy screening may also have contributed to the improved situation.
A total of 1,582 youths were arrested for crime in the first half of 2006, as compared to 2,412 in the same period in 2005. They accounted for 18% of the total persons arrested, a decrease from the 22% in Jan-Jun 2005, but still higher than the proportion of the youth population in Singapore (15%).
While the three most common offences for which youths were arrested continued to be shop theft, other theft and rioting, each of these offences saw significantly fewer youth arrests in the first half of this year.
Youth arrested for shop theft fell from 719 to 378 persons, while youths arrested for other theft fell from 441 to 221 persons. The number of youth arrested for rioting also fell from 212 to 191 persons.
Fewer persons were arrested for overall crime, from 10,971 to 8,992 persons in the first half of 2006.
About 4 in 10 arrests involving selected major offences4 were made with the assistance of the public. Police will continue to work with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), the Inter-Ministry Committee on Youth Crime (IMYC) and the local grassroots network to engage the community through various crime prevention programmes in preventing and containing crime.
Police will continue to work in close partnership with the community so that they can be our eyes and ears to ensure that Singapore remains safe.
This Police-community partnership is even more important in this current global security climate where the whole community of Singapore will need to address challenges posed by both security and crime.

1 Crimes of passion refer to non-premeditated offences that occur in the heat of the moment arising from immediate instigating factors such as disputes ranging from money matters, personal/ family matters, work-related, boy-girl relationship, misunderstanding, etc.

2 Theft and related offences include, other theft, theft in dwelling (in hotel and others), shop theft, theft of bicycle, theft from person, etc and also includes the index crimes motor vehicle theft and snatch theft.

3 Infocommunications Development Authority (IDA), Singapore listed the handphone penetration rate in Singapore as 99.3% in May 2006.

4 These major offences include murder, rape, outraging modesty, robbery, housebreaking, motor vehicle theft and snatch theft

Source: 24 Jul 2006

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