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What Makes Singapore’s Crime Rate So Low?

If you have been considering a move to Singapore, you have probably heard, at least in passing, about Singapore’s legendary low crime rates by now. But what makes our country such a safe place to live in, compared to many other great cities of the world? Singapore is such a small and young country that the rate of our progress feels almost incredible, even impossible to believe. Since our independence from the British Empire back in 1965, our country has taken major strides in multiple areas apart from public safety and crime. How is Singapore able to rise so quickly beyond all expectations?

 

Global Rankings On Safety Puts Singapore On Top

Singapore consistently ranks among the highest on lists of the safest countries in the world — and the data speaks for itself. Recently, Singapore topped yet another survey on safety for the fifth consecutive year. According to their findings, at least 94% of adults living here in this country responded that they feel safe at night while walking the streets of Singapore on their own. This number puts Singapore at the top of the list, and is well above the average of 68%, placing Singapore head and shoulders above most other countries.

One could contest the methodology in one survey, but this was not the only list topped by our country either. Prior to this, Singapore also topped at least two other surveys that researched law and order from all over the world in recent years. One even cited Singapore as the world’s safest city in a report that was published in 2018.

Singapore even reigned over the other cities in this one, topping all of its other researched key areas, including mobility, health, and productivity. In a way, it seems to suggest that all of these areas are strongly influenced by each other. Residents who are productive and healthy, living in a country with highly developed infrastructure, are clearly far less likely to resort to crime.

 

Low Corruption And White Collar Crimes

Of course, safety is not just about being able to confidently walk the streets at night. Singapore is also a safe place for businesses and matters concerning the government. Corruption and white collar crimes are low here, and Singapore consistently ranks among the top on lists of the least corrupt countries in the world. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau plays a major part in this regard, established as far back as 1952 to combat corruption. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has the power to investigate any allegations of corruption, regardless of the amount. Even the exchange of a single dollar warrants a thorough investigation.

Deterrence is also a major factor in preventing corruption and other white collar crimes here. Singapore does not set any clear distinction when it comes to punishing either white or blue collar crimes, stamping them out equally with threats of massive fines and lengthy prison sentences. The data clearly corroborates the effectiveness of such measures to deter corruption and other white collar crimes. On top of that, Singapore also remunerates civil servants and politicians at high rates to ensure that none may be lured by money.

 

Balancing Deterrence and Rehabilitation

Today, Singapore has come a long way from an era of unchecked crime in the 1950s. Back then, there was a stronger emphasis on deterrence to counter the rapid rise of gangsters and secret societies. Recent low crime rates have given the justice system enough leeway to focus more on sentences geared toward rehabilitation. These sentences that may not necessarily be lighter in a sense, but are aimed to prevent the recurrence of crimes upon their release from detention. This way, ex-offenders will be in a better position to take steps to reform from their past misdeeds and more easily re-integrate themselves within society upon release.

Of course, major crimes are still enforced using particularly powerful deterrents including caning and even the most dreaded death penalty. In Singapore, caning is not merely designed to humiliate — the act inflicts severe pain on the criminal that follows them for a long time. Anyone who has ever been sentenced to a single stroke of the cane would not be able to sit without the powerful, physical reminder of the crime that had led them to this point for at least a full week. Still, a physician is always available to oversee the caning to ensure that the recipient has the wherewithal to withstand the pain.

The incumbent government takes a particularly firm stance when it comes to the use of stronger methods of deterrence, especially in the enforcement of drug control. Heavy criticism by external forces aside, impressive figures found in surveys, nevertheless, corroborates the effectiveness of their position. Singapore is now among the safest countries to live in, largely because of the delicate balance of deterrence and rehabilitation used by our justice system.