SINGAPORE: More loanshark harassers are using fire as a form of intimidation, and police said that this is a cause for concern.
So the community needs to be more vigilant and step up its crime prevention efforts.
Police said that the number of loanshark harassment by fire cases shot up to 97 last year from 38 cases in 2010.
Deputy superintendent (DSP) of the Singapore Police Force, Julius Lim, said: "That’s where we are particularly concerned because the deadly blend of fire and harassment can actually result in a safety and security situation, which may even lead to the loss of lives."
Police are encouraging more residents to be actively involved in crime prevention efforts through Neighbourhood Watch Groups and Citizens—On—Patrol initiatives.
Police said four in 10 of all crime cases are solved with the assistance from members of the public.
With more than 300 Neighbourhood Watch Groups and 240 Citizens—On—Patrol members patrolling the Chua Chu Kang estate, police said it has been a big help.
DSP Lim said: "We have seen very encouraging progress on the ground with regards to residents actively participating in our Citizens—On—Patrol team as well as Neighbourhood Watch Group initiative.
"Every month, we get many calls from our Neighbourhood Watch Group members alerting us to suspicious characters in the neighbourhood, as well as possible criminal activities that are taking place in the vicinity."
In a bid to better connect with tech—savvy residents, the Chua Chu Kang Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) has also become the first NPC to launch its own Facebook fan page.
Mr Wong Kang Kheong, who goes on weekly patrols with his Neighbourhood Watch Group and looks out for suspicious activities, said: "During our patrol, (we saw) this character (who) was actually drunk and making some noise pollution at void decks and was quite violent. So we immediately called the police. And upon police arrival, he was being arrested."
Together with eight others, Wong was presented a token of appreciation for his efforts.
Health Minister and MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Mr Gan Kim Yong also reminded residents about the dangers of leaving discarded items along the corridor and lift landing.
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