Cracking The Yishun Curse: Crime stats show neighborhood may not be as jinxed as believed

Photo: Temasek Clothings/Facebook
Photo: Temasek Clothings/Facebook

Ah, Yishun. The neighborhood in the north of Singapore has been in the news so regularly the last few years that it’s gained a bad rep for being a hotbed of crime. Termed the “Murderer and Siao Lang” town by a brutally honest map of Singapore, Yishun has been the go-to town for stranger things, from criminal activity to animal abuse to brothel raids.

Shall we count the cases?

Kidding. That’d take us all week. But if you’d like a trip down the rabbit hole of The Yishun Curse, this blog has got you covered. Titled “The Yishun Dream,” the site takes you through all the bizarre happenings in the heartland district, from murderers and drug lords to crazies and plain old cursed luck. It’s even got a theory that most of the crimes occur within what it calls “The Devil’s Ring,” an area fenced off by Yishun Ring Road.

For a quick recap — in case you’ve been happily living elsewhere (like in the kiasu town of Tampines) — some of the Yishun cases that caught the public’s attention include random beatings, wrecked sports cars, illegal fireworks, cat cruelty, cat killersa massive sinkhole on the road, a couple openly going for sexy time, a dad who splashed acid on his son’s face, and residents who built a wall of cacti and durian to ward of harassment from a neighbor.

But that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. So it’s no surprise that the public perception of Yishun isn’t the greatest.

However, according to Channel NewsAsia (and actual crime statistics), it seems Yishun may be a misunderstood neighborhood. Current affairs programme Talking Point revealed that there are actually other neighborhoods in Singapore with a higher rate of preventable crimes, such as snatch theft, robbery, housebreaking, vehicle theft, and outrage of modesty.

For example, in 2015, the Orchard district saw 11.7 percent of criminal cases, as compared to 0.04 percent in Yishun. And out of the country’s 28 estates, Yishun actually only ranked 13th for crime rates, behind areas like Marine Parade and Changi.

Institute of Policy Studies senior research fellow Leong Chan-Hoong said that Yishun could be seen as a high crime area because of its lower income demographic.

As for Yishun’s reputation as a neighborhood housing cat killers, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority stated that out of the 18 percent of alleged cat cruelty cases in Yishun from 2015 to last month, only five percent (four cases) turned out to be actual abuse ones. The rest were simply accidents or attacks by stray canines.

Member of Parliament for Nee Soon and animal rights advocate Louis Ng even claimed that the number of cat killings in Yishun has decreased in the past two years.

In response to the neighborhood’s negative image and bad publicity, some individuals have come together to #MakeYishunGreatAgain — by first starting small. The group bagged hundreds of food and drinks care packages in June this year and stealthily delivered them to units in a block in Yishun during the wee hours of the morning.

Here’s hoping these good vibes will catch on and spread like wildfire in Yishun.

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