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Speech By Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister For Finance, At The Launch Of The Annual Festive Season Crime Prevention Campaign 2008/2009, Friday 14 Nov 2008, 1915hrs, Ngee Ann City, Civic Plaza

14 Nov 2008

Mr Tan Kian Hoon, Chairman National Crime Prevention Council

Mr Eric Low, Vice-Chairman NCPC and Chairman of Campaign Organising Committee

SAC Soh Wai Wah, Acting Commissioner of Police

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening,

Thank you for being here this evening for the launch of the 2008 Festive Season Crime Prevention Campaign.

2. In its 27th anniversary this year, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has over time, become an iconic representation of crime prevention in the community. This is made possible by the close partnership that NCPC has with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the community. This effective tripartite commitment has reaped many successes over the years in enhancing crime prevention awareness in Singapore.

3. The festive season is here again. The NCPC is again geared up to remind the population to remain vigilant against crime at all times. This year's campaign, held in conjunction with the Christmas Light-Up, is an appropriate platform to get the public to be extra careful as they go about celebrating the merry season.

4. You will see the campaign messages on MRT and taxis as these public transport vehicles ply the roads island-wide. Messages will also be disseminated within the residential estates, through radio broadcast and other campaign collaterals with the campaign's key thrust that everyone has a personal and shared responsibility to prevent crime at all times.

5. On this note, I would like to applaud the use of the "Ostrich" as the mascot for this year's campaign. It serves as a reminder to the public to remain alert and not hide from the fact that crime is ever present. I'm sure the campaign will go down well with the public, as it will once again ring up NCPC's ever catchy campaign slogan - "Low Crime Doesn't Mean No Crime."

Crime Prevention Initiatives

6. I note that NCPC has pursued several initiatives this year to disseminate crime prevention messages to the various segments of the community.

7.For example, I am heartened to note that NCPC is paying attention to the senior citizens, who can be vulnerable victims of crime. In September this year, more than 150 senior citizens were either appointed or re-appointed as Crime Prevention Ambassadors (CPAs) for a 3-year term. Their main role is to talk to fellow senior citizens in a language or dialect that is suitable for their fellow senior citizens. This will ensure that crime prevention messages can be better understood by as many senior citizens as possible.

8. Another initiative that NCPC has carried out this year is the Crime Prevention Skit Competition for schools. Through the competition, NCPC successfully raised the awareness of crime prevention among the young. The competition received more than 70 entries from more than 30 schools. You can view some of these skits on NCPC's YouTube Channel. Later in the programme tonight, you will be able to witness one of the award winning skit performances. I am sure you are just as excited as I am looking forward to enjoy it.

9 Finally, the NCPC, in conjunction with the Police, has continued to push forward a scheme which has been reaching out to neighbourhood residents since 1997. In the Neighbourhood Watch Zone scheme or "NWZ" for short, residents are encouraged to keep a watchful eye of their surroundings and alert the Police should they see any suspicious activities in progress. Through the residents' vigilance and proactive efforts, crimes can be detected early and prevented through timely intervention by the Police. I am glad that such an initiative has been going strong for more than 10 years - a solid testimony to the strong cooperation between NCPC- police and the community.

Crime Prevention - A Shared Responsibility

10. While I am confident that NCPC and Police will continue to engage their stakeholders to raise crime prevention awareness, I would like to urge all of you to play your part as crime prevention is a shared responsibility. You can do so by taking personal responsibility to prevent crime, for example, by always being alert to suspicious characters and activities around you. And you can also remind your family members, friends and colleagues to similarly do so. By doing so, you are helping to cultivate good crime prevention habits among your own social networks. If everyone plays their part, criminals would have less opportunity to harm our loved ones and steal our valuables.

11. In concluding my speech, I would like to repeat the NCPC's festive season campaign tagline which is "Low Crime Doesn't Mean No Crime." Remember, together we can prevent crime.