Welcome to K C Yan's Singapore Math blog!

Wanting to be updated on Singapore Math news or new Singapore Math? You have come at the right place! Please leave your comments before leaving. A googol thanks.

Singapore Math

Friday, January 27, 2023

Crime Watch and Crime Math

Singapore is known for its low crime rate in the developed world, and those who occasionally peek at what’s happening in the island-state might be surprised to read about more local and foreign shoplifters being recently caught in CCTV-equipped supermarkets and shopping centers islandwide.

Dark Data

Below is an immoral statistics question that could serve as a “teaching moment” to warn both elementary and middle school (or upper primary and lower secondary) students against shoplifting and crime, especially when inflation around the world is at an all-time high.

The 2020–2022 estimated losses from the thefts of milk powder at retailers in Singapore are as follows:

2020: $18,000 (73 cases)

2021: $26,000 (96 cases)

2022: $27,000 (80 cases)

2023: $XY,000 (Z cases)

Based on past crime statistics, and in the light of a gloomy global economy that could bring about a financial apocalypse if the war in Ukraine dragged on, and should Mother Nature lose her patience with earthlings in spite of frequent natural calamities visiting the planet in recent years, predict the number of milk powder thefts and the accompanying monetary loss that would occur in the “fine” city of Singapore, in 2023.

How much revenue (or fines) could the authorities generate from these shoplifters-turned-resellers of milk powder (contaminated or not) in the coming decade?

Would there be a (higher) jail sentence for repeated offenders of infant formula? Or is caning in the pipeline for hardcore thieves? Or hundreds of community service hours for those unfit to be behind bars for whatever health or wealth reasons?

A Moral/Social Issue 

How many of these shoplifters genuinely couldn’t afford to feed their kids, especially when there is quasi-zero government assistance for the unemployed or underemployed, or for senior citizens with zero pension or savings in their “golden” years?

Do the shoplifters (and potential rioters) belong to some demographic groups that need the authorities to step in to avoid social disorders like public strikes and hate crimes perpetrated by racists-supremacists-turned-opportunists, which we’re witnessing in some right-wing political circles or red-pilled states?

From Profit to Profiteering

Like pharmaceutical companies that are notoriously known to overprice or overcharge their products, milk powder manufacturers don’t seem to be any morally different from them. Unless their dear milk powder came from holy cows or goats that have been anointed by Vatican-approved priests!

A Formula for an Equitable World

The social and political chaos plaguing many parts of the globe provides math educators worldwide an opportunity to step up and speak out against rogue politics and profiteering, poverty and inequality, and crime and robbery.

Some degree of equality or equity could come to pass via creative mathematical problem solving and active moral mindfulness on the part of math educators to help right some of the social ills, political hypocrisies, and business malpractices.

Remember: Low crime doesn’t mean no crime.

© Yan Kow Cheong, January 27, 2023.