SINGAPORE - There were more outrage of modesty cases in the first half of this year than last year, and in about two out of three cases, the offenders were known to the victims.
The police said on Wednesday that cases of outrage of modesty increased by 4.6 per cent to 773 from January to June this year, up from 739 cases in the same period last year.
Cases where the culprits were known to the victims saw a rise of 9.6 per cent to 489, up from 446 in the first half of last year.
Meanwhile, cases involving offenders unknown to the victims dipped slightly by 3.1 per cent to 284, from 293 in the first six months of 2021.
"The number of outrage of modesty cases occurring within the public transport system, including public transportation nodes and on public transport, remains a concern," said the police on Wednesday.
The police added that 63.8 per cent of outrage of modesty incidents, committed on public transport by those not known to their victims, targeted individuals aged between 13 and 29.
According to mid-year crime statistics released on Monday, 80 outrage of modesty cases happened on public transport in the first half of the year.
The police said closed-circuit television cameras, as well as vital information provided by the victims such as descriptions of the suspects, their clothing and distinctive facial features, helped to solve many of the cases.
The police gave the example of a case that took place in April this year. A 27-year-old woman reported she had been molested by a man she did not know at Woodlands Avenue 6.
She provided a detailed description of the man and the police trawled through footage captured by police cameras in the area, eventually establishing the identity of the man.
The 40-year-old offender was arrested by officers from Woodlands Police Division within three days of the report.
He was charged with outrage of modesty and sentenced to four weeks' jail in May.
Those found guilty of outrage of modesty may be jailed for up to three years, fined, caned or receive any combination of such punishments.
If the victim is under 14 years of age, the offence carries a jail term of up to five years, a fine, caning, or any combination of the punishments.
The police said it would launch a public education video about outrage of modesty at Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations in October and will continue to work with public transport operators and partners, including the National Crime Prevention Council, to raise awareness about this issue.
"Outrage of modesty cases remain a key concern for the police. (We) have zero tolerance towards sexual offenders who threaten the personal safety of the community and offenders will be dealt with sternly in accordance with the law," said the police on Wednesday.
The police urged victims of outrage of modesty to step forward and report the crime, adding: "(We) adopt a victim-centric approach for sexual crime investigations and victims will be handled sensitively during the investigation process."
The police also listed the following crime prevention tips for the public:
- Be alert and attentive to your surroundings, especially when you are in a crowded and confined space or alone with a stranger who moves very near to you.
- If someone rushes into the lift at the last minute and you are alone, it is safer to step out and take the next one.
- If someone is following you, head to a crowded area. If someone moves uncomfortably close to you (for example, someone deliberately sits next to you in a bus or train), move away if possible.