Crime Control in Singapore



 Loss Prevention Magazine, Wednesday, 01 February 2012 16:58 Richard C Hollinger, Ph.D.


Excerpt :

Thanks to some personal contacts arranged by Rex Gillette, a former resident of Singapore during his long career with ADT, I experienced visits with a number of loss prevention directors and retail stores, talking at length to them about their retail crime problems. It turns out, however, most types of crime, especially serious property and violent crime, are almost non-existent in Singapore. This is due to the fact that this former British colony is a very tightly controlled social environment. Littering, spitting on the sidewalk, and even chewing gum are all considered illegal activities in Singapore. You may recall that this is the place that gave an American teenager a painful “caning” as his punishment for vandalizing a car in 1994.

Crime is just not tolerated in Singapore. You learn this very quickly even before arrival. As your plane lands, the cabin attendants remind the passengers that drug trafficking is punishable by death. In fact, during the week we arrived, three suspects were arrested at the airport for drug possession and were immediately tried and sentenced to be hung. In short, Singapore just does not tolerate crime.


Excerpt :

The Republic of Singapore is a modern, beautiful city that has made crime control and public order a major priority. Civil liberties and freedoms from search and surveillance have been placed behind the goal of living in a crime-free society. I suspect that the ACLU would label Singapore a repressive society, but I did not experience this feeling. In fact, it was nice to know that my person, wallet, camera,and passport were being protected in this virtually crime-free environment.

In 1968 the legal scholar Herbert Packer wrote that crime control and civil liberty can be located at two ends of a continuum in most societies. Clearly the people of Singapore have moved the pendulum of this continuum toward the goal of crime control at the possible expense of some civil liberties and due process of law.

Only time will tell whether this trade off will be detrimental to their democracy.


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