It was an honour for me in July 2018 to take over the position of Chairman from Mr Tan Kian Hoon. The Council has benefited so much from Kian Hoon’s leadership and commitment. His legacy is a better organisation, stronger governance, closer partnerships with stakeholders and more effective programmes.
I am proud that my fellow Council members have been working hard over the years with the Police and community to educate Singaporeans on preventing crime, as well as propagate the concept of self-help in crime prevention.
Records by the Singapore Police Force showed that the number of reported crimes in 2018 increased slightly by 1.4% to 33,134 cases. The Overall Crime Rate also rose, with 588 cases per 100,000 population in 2018, compared to 582 cases in 2017. As noted in recent years, the increase in the number of crimes in 2018 was again owing to more scam cases reported. The total number of e-commerce scams, loan scams, credit-for-sex scams and China officials impersonation scams shot up by 36.1% to 3,954 cases in 2018. In particular, loan scams increased by an alarming 151% to 994 cases in 2018, from 396 cases in 2017. Another crime of concern was China officials impersonation scams. The total amount cheated in 2018 was $12.7 million and the largest amount cheated in a single case was a staggering $1.7 million.
NCPC has been devoting a large part of its resources to educate the public on scams. The level of awareness today is high yet Singaporeans continue to lose millions of dollars to scams every month. The Council will persevere to continue working closely with the Police and the community to identify the gaps and do whatever it takes to help Singaporeans from falling victim to scams.
NCPC started a national anti-scam campaign in 2014. The focus in 2018 was to rally the community and businesses towards a united front against scams. This “Let’s Fight Scams” campaign included a new WhatsApp alert function to update advocates on the latest scam news for sharing with friends and loved ones.
It was “business as usual” for NCPC’s other major programmes like Crime Watch, Delta League, Neighbourhood Watch Zone and X-Ah-Long. We are grateful to the Police and our community partners for their strong support in fostering our crime prevention projects.
Without a doubt, there will be many challenges ahead. The Council faces resource constraints and crimes are shifting and evolving quickly online. Therefore, we have to constantly review and tune our strategies to reduce the risk of crimes occurring. And we will continue to build on the Council’s strengths to ensure that we are always able to perform our critical role: to make Singapore safe and secure for all.
MR GERALD SINGHAM, JP, BBM (L), PBM