Crime rate at 30-year low in 2013 but cyber crimes on the rise - police statistics

In the latest annual statistics released by the police on Friday, total crime cases recorded in Singapore last year fell 4.3 per cent to 29,668 cases from 31,015 cases in 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 
In the latest annual statistics released by the police on Friday, total crime cases recorded in Singapore last year fell 4.3 per cent to 29,668 cases from 31,015 cases in 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 

More criminals are targeting victims on cyberspace, with online scams and cyber extortion on the rise, even as Singapore's crime rate hit a 30-year low.

In the latest annual statistics released by the police on Friday, the crime rate last year was 549 per 100,000 people compared with 584 per 100,00 in 2012, and has been on the downtrend since 2005.

The total crime cases recorded last year fell 4.3 per cent to 29,668 cases from 31,015 cases in 2012.

Of the six classes of crime that the cases are divided into, four of them registered lower figures last year - crimes against persons, housebreaking and related crimes, theft and related crimes, and miscellaneous crimes.

Breakdown of overall crime by type
Cases reported by crime classes 2012 2013 +/- % change
Housebreaking and related crime 598 547 -51 -8.5
Theft and related crimes 18,476 16,967 -1,509 -8.2
Miscellaneous crimes 4,221 4,060 -161 -3.8
Crimes against persons 3,824 3,808 -16 -0.4
Violent/Serious Property Crimes* 389 406 17 4.4
Commercial crimes 3,507 3,880 373 10.6
Overall 31,015 29,668 -1,347 -4.3

* Crime classification has been renamed to Violent/Serious Property Crimes to reflect the changing nature of the crime and the growing trend of cyber-extortions. Violent/Serious Property Crimes refer to crimes which involve the taking of money or property by force or means of threat against the victims. These include crimes where physical violence may not necessarily be involved e.g. cyber-extortion cases. The basket of offences under this crime classification remains the same.

Source: Singapore Police Force

Compiled by Derrick Ho

But the number of cases of commercial crime increased more than 10 per cent to 3,880 cases last year. Another category, violent or serious property crimes, also saw an increase.

The classification was renamed this year from "violent property crimes" to reflect the growing trend of cyber extortion cases.

Police identified cheating cases involving e-commerce as an area of concern - the number of such cases more than doubled to 509 cases last year from 238 cases in 2012.

Internet love scams saw a 62 per cent increase last year to 81 cases. A total of $5.8 million was lost in such scams last year, compared to $1.8 million in 2012.

"There is a discernible trend that scams are migrating to cyberspace," said Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Lau Peet Meng, who is Director of Operations.

"We'd like to encourage members of the public to be very careful when they use the Internet, and not to transfer any money to persons they have not met."

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