First Crime Prevention Week
Singapore’s first Crime Prevention Week was held from 15 to 21 March 1954.1 Organised by the Singapore Police Force, this first crime prevention week initiated a working partnership between the police force and the public in the task of fighting and preventing crime.2 The week was conceptualised when the police force looked for ways to replace its traditional image as a militant arm of the government with a more citizen-friendly image and to have the police seen as part of the population that it served.3 The week was also a way to increase public awareness of crime prevention measures.4
Building up public interest
Public interest in the forthcoming week was built up through publicity in the English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil newspapers as well as by broadcasts given by the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Police over Radio Malaya.5 A quarter of a million crime prevention booklets were distributed to households across Singapore. The eight-page booklet in four languages gave tips on preventing or deterring crimes such as burglaries, bag snatching and car and bicycle thefts.6
The Malayan Film Unit worked with various units of the police force to produce a film called Returned with Thanks. This film portrayed a robbery and how the police solved the case with cooperation from the public. With commentaries in English, Chinese and Malay, the film was shown in all major cinemas in Singapore.7
Crime Prevention Week was opened with an exhibition at the Happy World amusement park. The exhibition, which was arranged together with the manufacturers of security products, showcased a range of crime preventive tools such as safes, burglar alarms, locks, bolts and protective iron for gates and windows.8 Besides these commercial exhibits, there were also exhibits on the work of various units of the police force, including the Criminal Records Office, Divisional Police, Traffic Police and the Marine Police. The work of the village constable in rural areas was also featured in the exhibition. The largest of these exhibits was provided by the Radio Division and it consisted of a complete demonstration of the new “999” police hotline service.9
Then Officer Administering the Government of Singapore William A. C. Goode declared the exhibition open and at the same time inaugurated Crime Prevention Week.10 After his opening speech which highlighted the objectives of the Crime Prevention Week, Goode demonstrated the police hotline service by dialling “999” on a telephone.11
By the time the exhibition drew to a close on 21 March 1954, more than 70,000 people had visited the exhibition, making a record attendance for any exhibition held in Singapore at the time.12
Lim Tin Seng
1. “Police Will Show How to Beat Crime,” Straits Times, 8 March 1954, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
2. “Free Launch and Bus Trips to Stadium,” Straits Times, 16 March 1954, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
3. “The Citizen Policeman,” Straits Times, 15 March 1954, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “Free Launch and Bus Trips.”
5. Police Force, Singapore, Annual Report (Singapore: [s.n.], 1954), 40. (Call no. RCLOS 354.59570074 SIN)
6. “Citizen Policeman.”
7. Police Force, Singapore, Annual Report, 40.
8. Singapore, Annual Report (Singapore: [s.n.], 1954), 144. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 SIN)
9. Police Force, Singapore, Annual Report, 40.
10. “You Hold Trump in Crime War,” Straits Times, 16 March 1954, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Police Force, Singapore, Annual Report, 40.
12. Police Force, Singapore, Annual Report, 41.
The information in this article is valid as of 12 May 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.