Overall crime rate lowest in 30 years

Overall crime rate lowest in 30 years
Graph: Singapore Police Force
Number of cases last year fell by 4.3%, but incidents of online scams and youth rioting rose
Published: 4:03 AM, February 15, 2014
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SINGAPORE — The overall crime rate here continued its downward slide last year, falling for the eighth consecutive year to a 30-year low, the Singapore Police Force said yesterday. However, it flagged two worrying trends: Crime moving to the online sphere and more youths arrested for rioting last year.

The police handled 29,668 cases last year, about 4.3 per cent fewer than the previous year.

Factoring in the population number, this translated to a crime rate of 549 cases per 100,000 people last year.

“Significant dips were seen in four of the six crime classes, namely crimes against persons, housebreaking and related crimes, theft and related crimes, and miscellaneous crimes,” the police said yesterday. However, the number of commercial crimes as well as violent and serious property crimes, rose.

The police attributed the increase in violent and serious property crimes to the surge in cyber extortion cases, as the number of cases last year rose 69 per cent to 108 cases.

Cheating cases involving the use of e-commerce more than doubled, with 509 cases reported. There were 238 such cases in 2012. Most of the victims fell to a scam, which involves culprits posing as sellers of smartphones and tablets, but the victims never received the gadgets. The victims were aged between 14 and 67, and the amounts involved were between S$70 and S$10,600.

Internet love scams registered a 62 per cent increase, with S$5.8 million cheated out of 81 victims last year. The victims’ ages ranged from 19 to 74 years and the amounts involved were between S$512 and S$1 million. In contrast, 50 victims were cheated of S$1.18 million in 2012.

The scam usually involved suspects who mostly claimed to be from Britain and targeted women through dating and social networks. Typically, the culprit would claim that he would be travelling to Singapore to marry the victim.

On the supposed day of arrival, the culprit would claim that he was detained for carrying excess cash and would ask the victim to transfer money to secure his release.

The police said they would continue to raise awareness of such scams, but urged Internet users to exercise heightened vigilance to avoid falling victim to these crimes.

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