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A Safe and Secure Home 2018
Always dedicated, always vigilant – how the Home Team kept Singapore safe and secure in 2018.

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GRAPHIC: Home Team News

It’s that feeling we have when we’re home with our loved ones or hanging out with our friends; something we often take for granted and only think about when someone mentions it to us: “Things are different in Singapore; I feel safe here.” 

There’s no disputing it: Singapore remains one of the safest cities in the world, topping the Gallup Global Law and Order Report 2018. That’s a remarkable achievement by any measure, and speaks to the dedication and vigilance of our Home Team Guardians.

Over the past week, our Home Team Departments released their annual round-up of key statistics related to their work. From public safety and saving lives to combating drugs, fostering rehabilitation and securing our borders, here are 12 things you should know about what it takes to keep Singapore safe. 

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1. Scams on the Rise: As the Gallup Report noted, 94% of Singapore’s residents reported that they felt safe walking alone in their own neighbourhoods. But low crime doesn’t mean no crime, and according to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the overall crime rate rose by 1.4% in 2018. This increase was mainly due to a rise in scam cases, which made up about 14% of the overall crime rate in Singapore last year. 

2. Cyber-criminals Beware: Another area of concern is crimes committed under the Computer Misuse Act, which rose 40.3% in 2018. Among those busted by SPF officers last year were criminals who made unauthorised purchases using credit and debit cards and hackers who sent phishing emails to obtain sensitive personal information (such as passwords and credit card details).

- Click here to read SPF’s Annual Crime Brief 2018.
- Don’t want to fall victim to e-commerce scams, loan scams and Internet love scams? Check out the Scam Alert website.

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3. Putting the Brakes on Speedsters: Prominent warnings at speed camera zones, plus bright-orange enforcement cameras – according to the Traffic Police (TP), these highly visible features helped cut speeding-related accidents in 2018, with cases decreasing by 5.6% from the year before. Similar safety plans are in the works; by 2022, TP will install blinker lights at speed enforcement zones island-wide.

4. Errant Motorists, Beware: There was an increase in the number of fatal road accidents from 117 in 2017 to 120 in 2018. Motorcycle-related fatalities accounted for almost half of the road deaths last year, while drink-driving accidents and red-light-running violations also rose. To curb such offences, the penalties for certain road traffic offences will be revised. 

- Click here to read TP’s Road Traffic Situation 2018.
- Click here to learn about the launch of the "Use Your RoadSense" initiative in February 2019.
-  Share your feedback on criminal penalties for road traffic offences by 13 March 2019, via REACH

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5. Lifesavers 24/7: Did you know that in 2018, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to over 187,607 calls for Emergency Medical Services? That works out to over 500 calls a day! 

To ensure that callers receive the appropriate response when they call 995, SCDF will implement the second phase of its Tiered Response Framework in April 2019 by introducing two new categories for calls: “Minor Emergencies” and “Non-Emergency cases” (this is in addition to “Life-Threatening Emergencies”, which was launched in 2017). 

6. Upgrading the Skills of Our First Responders: More SCDF officers (beyond Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians) will also be trained to perform High-Performance Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (HP-CPR). Compared to conventional CPR, HP-CPR can result in higher survival rates. 

- Click here to read SCDF’s Annual Statistics 2018. 
- Heart attack, yes; tummy ache, probably not – need a refresher on when you should and shouldn’t call 995? Check out this page.

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7. Resolute in the Fight Against Drugs: Singapore’s comprehensive approach to fighting drugs has enabled us to remain relatively drug-free. Enforcement is crucial to this effort; in 2018, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) conducted close to 1,600 anti-drug operations. 

Besides targeting drug traffickers and abusers, CNB officers also intercepted drugs at our checkpoints and dismantled 26 drug syndicates. In several cases, officers rescued young children from harrowing conditions. 

8. An Insidious, Multi-headed Threat: But the danger posed by drugs remains, especially to youths. 40% of drug abusers arrested in 2018 were new abusers, and the proportion of new drug abusers below 30 years of age remained high at 64%. CNB also noted an 11% year-on-year increase in drug abusers arrested in 2018. These abusers primarily abused Methamphetamine, Cannabis and New Psychoactive Substances

To keep pace with the rapidly evolving drug threat, amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act were made in January 2019 to strengthen CNB’s enforcement powers and enhance our drug rehabilitation regime. 

- Click here to read CNB’s Drug Situation Report 2018. 
- Click here to read the Singapore’s Government’s Position on the Use of Pharmaceutical Products Containing Cannabinoids. 

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9. Enhanced Rehab Options: In 2018, our overall recidivism rate was low and stable for the third year running, thanks to the effort of the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and its community partners. The recidivism rate (which measures the percentage of local inmates convicted and imprisoned again for a new offence within two years of their release) was 23.7% for the 2016 release cohort, down 2.2% from 2015. 

More ex-offenders were also placed on Community Corrections programmes. The Mandatory Aftercare Scheme (MAS) was introduced in 2014 to provide step-down, structured aftercare for those with higher risk profiles and who require more support. Over the past three years, over 1,200 inmates have been place on MAS, with the completion rate at 93% in 2018, up from 91.6% from the year before. Under SPS’ supervision, completion rates for Day Reporting Orders and Short Detention Orders hit 100% in 2018. 

10. Better Job Opportunities: Working with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), SPS matches ex-offenders with jobs before they complete their sentences or are released into the community. This effort continues to bear fruit and, in 2018, 96% of the ex-offenders referred to SCORE secured jobs prior to their release. 

- Click here to read SPS’ Annual Statistics Release 2018. 
- Click here to learn how SCORE offers employment assistance to ex-offenders. 

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11. Few Immigration Offenders Arrested: Rigorous enforcement checks by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), together with tech initiatives at border checkpoints, helped make a dent in the number of immigration offenders arrested in 2018, which fell by 8.9% to 1,071 from the year before. 

However, the number of harbourers and employers of immigration offenders arrested in 2018 rose 13% to 340 from 2017. These offenders were mainly Singaporeans or Permanent Residents who didn’t check on the immigration status of their tenants. 

12. Smuggling Cases Up: Contraband cases detected at our border checkpoints reached an all-time high of 107,771 in 2018, up 19% from 2017. Most of these cases involved heavy vehicles passing through Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints. To curb smuggling, ICA has implemented radiographic scanners and other tech initiatives at our checkpoints.

- Click here to read ICA’s Annual Statistics Report 2018.
- Not sure you’re harbouring an immigration offender? Check out this handy guide.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Home Team News
  2. 27 February 2019
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