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Molestation, theft on the rise as physical crime crept up 4.4% in 2022: Police

SINGAPORE — Molestation and theft cases increased in 2022 when physical crime rose 4.4 per cent, according to figures released by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Thursday (Feb 16).

Molestation, theft on the rise as physical crime crept up 4.4% in 2022: Police
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SINGAPORE — Molestation and theft cases increased in 2022 when physical crime rose 4.4 per cent, according to figures released by the Singapore Police Force on Thursday (Feb 16).

There were 20,193 cases of physical crime reported last year, up from 19,343 cases in 2021 but still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The increase followed the easing of Covid-19 measures and the resumption of more activities in 2022, the police said in a media release.

But when compared with pre-pandemic figures in 2019, the situation has in fact improved, said Assistant Commissioner Gregory Tan, acting director of operations with the police force.

With the acceleration of digitalisation during the pandemic, Mr Tan added that financial crime and fraud, largely cyber-enabled, are expected to continue to escalate.

Scam and cybercrime statistics were released separately last week, as police explained that rising scam numbers have overtaken many other types of physical crime and skewed the overall crime indicator.

The number of scam and cybercrime cases rose by more than a quarter to 33,669 last year.


The number of molestation cases, which made up 8 per cent of all physical crime, rose from 1,474 to 1,610 last year. Almost 60 per cent of the cases involved culprits known to the victim.

The police pointed out that molestation cases at nightspots rose from 21 to 129 last year, as public entertainment resumed with Singapore's emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The police launched the third edition of its "smart clubbing" campaign in January, promoting a checklist for public entertainment outlets and encouraging them to comply with licensing conditions.

Molestation cases on public transport also rose from 163 to 178 cases last year as ridership increased.

Efforts to raise awareness of such crime include posters on MRT trains and at train stations and bus interchanges, the police said.

Voyeurism cases fell from 467 to 424 last year, accounting for 2.1 per cent of all cases. The top three locations where such incidents occurred were residences, the public transport system and shopping complexes.

Cases on public transport typically involved upskirt photos being taken, while those at the other locations mainly involved perpetrators known to the victims, such as household members or tenants who peeped at them in toilets.


There were 3,244 cases of shop theft last year, an increase of more than 20 per cent compared with the figure of 2,652 in 2021. This made up slightly more than 16 per cent of all physical crime cases.

Nearly 70 per cent of these cases took place in retail shops such as department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and mini-marts or convenience stores.

The stolen items typically included food and beverages, alcoholic drinks, personal care products, clothing and accessories, as well as cosmetics.

Cases were usually detected through suspicious behaviour spotted by staff, the discovery of missing items during stock-taking, or CCTV footage revealing instances of unpaid items at self-checkout terminals, the police said.

Incidence of theft in dwelling, which takes place in residences or places used to store property, also rose from 1,359 to 1,729 cases last year, forming 8.6 per cent of all cases.

The police said that significant increases were observed at residential and commercial properties, where theft cases rose to 881 and 503 respectively last year.

Thefts at commercial premises typically involved cash, jewellery, electronic items such as mobile phones, and branded bags or watches.

The suspects in a majority of these cases were known to the victim, such as tenants or roommates, family members, service providers or cleaners, and friends or acquaintances.

Rioting rounded out the five crimes of concern identified by the police. Rioting cases increased to 60 last year, from 46 in 2021, with increased interaction among larger groups after the resumption of social activities and reopening of nightspots.

This figure, at 0.3 per cent of all physical crime cases, was lower than pre-pandemic levels.

"Despite the increase in physical crime in 2022, the crime situation in Singapore remains under control," Assistant Commissioner Tan said.

"The Singapore Police Force will continue to step up our efforts to keep physical crime in check as we return to post-Covid-19 normalcy."

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