Volunteers from Queenstown are now working hand in hand with members of the police force in order to raise awareness at MRT stations regarding incidents of molestation and scams. This is the first time that citizens and police are working together in this particular endeavor.
Last week, volunteers from a resident’s committee in Queenstown started working together with police as part of Singapore Police Force’s Citizens on Patrol program to distribute flyers at the Queenstown MRT station to help citizens be aware of scams and molestation on trains.
The head of operations at the police’s Public Transport Security Command, Superintendent Alan Wong, has said that Citizens on Patrol would be the police officers’ additional ears and eyes on the ground, and would be able to provide necessary information to the police in order to combat crime, as they monitor MRT stations for suspicious behavior or activity.
Superintendent Wong says this will add to the safety of the country.
Eventually, their goal is to have volunteers manning station platforms as well. By the end of 2018, the police are aiming for the program to expand to the rest of the country.
The program’s expansion to MRT stations has come about because of a sudden and steep rise in incidents of outrage of modesty on public transport systems, according to data from the police.
From January to June 2017 there were 73 cases of outrage of modesty. In the same time period this year, there have been 105 cases. Overall, there has been a 21.5 percent jump of outrage of modesty cases from last year to this one.
One such volunteer for the Citizens on Patrol program in Queenstown is 35 year old Chua Mei Ting, a housewife. She said that the flyers educate people on being aware of their surroundings to look out for people who behave suspiciously and therefore might be dangerous to themselves and others. She said, “Doing it in the train stations is a natural choice because outrage of modesty really happens in crowded trains.”
People can volunteer once a month, and as many as eight of them could be manning the Queenstown MRT station.
Over 14,000 citizens around Singapore are members of 700 different Citizens on Patrol groups, which started in 1999. Volunteers regularly assist in preventing crime by patrolling neighborhoods and informing the police of suspicious activity or characters, generally helping raise awareness of crime and safety.