Singapore

Pick-pocket crime down, but police warn of spike during festive season

Fewer people got their pockets picked and shops reported fewer thefts this year, but police are urging people to be vigilant as they expect a spike in such crime during the year-end holiday season.

A total of 3,418 cases of shop theft and pick-pocketing were reported between January and September, a lower figure than the 3,567 reports lodged in the same period last year.

But commanding officer of the Orchard Neighbourhood Police Centre, Superintendent Toh Pei Lian, said the increase in such crimes in the final quarter is usually around 15 to 20 per cent over any other time.

The whole-year figure for these crimes last year was 4,795.

SHOPPING AREAS

At a press conference yesterday, police said they would step up operations in malls and other shopping areas to curb the increase.

In addition to more uniformed officers on patrol, there will be plainclothes police officers on duty in malls and crowded places to keep an eye out for both suspicious persons as well as individuals who might be at risk.

If an officer spots a potential victim, he may approach the individual and advise him or her to be careful.

Officers yesterday demonstrated their methods, speaking to both members of the public and shopkeepers at Wisma Atria.

One shopper, Ms Lee Lihua, 60, a housewife, said that the operation made her feel safer.

She said: "Having them there to give advice is helpful to us shoppers and gives me a sense of assurance."

A staff member at Spa Ceylon Boutique, a shop in Wisma Atria, Ms Dolly Kaur, said that in her four years working at the shop, she has been approached several times in such operations.

Said the 52-year-old: "There are always newcomers and it is useful to have officers come and give them tips and advice. It gives us a sense of security and also shows the high level of professionalism and security in Singapore."

COURT & CRIME