[LIFE] Crime in Singapore

I figured I’d take a break from my COVID-19 posts (not much new to report – I’m still keeping well). I have been spending some time in quarantine organizing the many photos I have taken in my first year in a new country. There are a few categories of photos I’m uncovering – I’ll try over the next few posts to feature some of my observations about daily life here.

One of my favourite quirks about Singapore are “CRIME ALERT” signs – placed by police around the city to report offences or provide warnings. Every time I see one, I snap a quick photo. (I’m not exaggerating – I had at least 20 on my phone!) Flip through the gallery below to see some of my favourites (or read on for more about crime in Singapore).

My family and friends will be happy to know that Singapore is routinely listed as one of the safest countries in the world. Crime (and especially violet crime) are very low in the country. In data I was able to find, there are typically just ~10 homicides per year (rate of 0.2 per 100,000 people). By comparison, Canada, while still quite safe, has a rate of 1.76 per 100,000 people and the United States has a rate of 4.96. Petty crime, such as street theft, is also quite rare (but see all the warnings about theft above!)

Policing in Singapore is very strict. Globally Singapore has earned the nickname of the “fine city” for fines for various infractions – such as chewing gum or eating on public transit (I wrote about this moniker in one of my first posts). Serious crime comes with much harsher punishments. Singapore practices capital punishment – murder, arms offenses and drug trafficking are punishable by death (70% of executions are for drug related crimes). Other crimes (such as vandalism or groping) are punishable by caning. These harsh punishments are widely seen as an effective deterent to crime in the country – the majority of Singaporeans remain supportive of capital punishment.

In the COVID-19 era, punishments for violating new rules are strict. There have been numerous cases where people have been charged with leaving their homes while under a stay home notice (in one case, a citizen is accused of leaving his apartment just 30 minutes before his period of isolation ended) or violating social distancing rules (in another case that went viral, seven people were charged after someone posted a photo of an outdoor gathering on Facebook).

So, while I feel secure living in a safe country, I’m also taking care to follow the rules – maintaining social distancing and wearing my (state-issued) mask everywhere!

Stay safe and keep well back home.

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