Overall crime down but reports of molest on public transport up 60 per cent

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SINGAPORE - While Singapore's overall crime rate dipped last year, there were more reports of molest, Internet love scams and unlicensed money lending harassment cases, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in its annual crime brief on Saturday (Feb 3).

Outrage of modesty cases went up by 22.2 per cent, with 1,566 cases reported last year.

Of particular concern was molest incidents on public transport, with 207 cases last year, a spike of 60.5 per cent over the previous year. Night spots also saw such cases rising by 33.8 per cent to 107 cases.

The police said they will step up patrols at public transportation nodes, and also distribute advisories to commuters during the morning and evening peak hours.

Outrage of modesty advisory posters have already been placed on the platform screen doors of MRT stations, and public education videos are being screened at bus interchanges and train platforms, added a spokesman.

Victims are advised to lodge reports of outrage of modesty as soon as possible.

The crime statistics also show that unlicensed money lending harassment cases rose 12.3 per cent to 3,806 cases last year.

But the number of cases involving damage to property as a result of such harassment fell. Police said harassment is now conducted via electronic means involving text messages or e-mails sent to borrowers.

Such harassment cases rose by about 33 per cent in 2017, from 2,080 cases in 2016.

Internet love scams saw a 29.9 percent increase to 825 cases last year, from 635 reported cases in 2016.

The total amount lost by victims also increased by about 50 per cent from $24 million in 2016 to $37 million in 2017.

Director of Commercial Affairs Department David Chew said the police will continue to engage the community "to sensitise the public to the fact that scams can be perpetrated against them anywhere, anytime."

Overall, crime registered a one per cent drop in 2017, from 33,099 cases in 2016 to 32,773 last year.

The improvement was largely attributed to two categories - violent/serious property crimes, and theft and related crimes.

There was a 12.4 per cent drop in violent/serious property crimes, from 249 cases in 2016 to 218 cases last year.

Robberies also declined by 26 per cent - the lowest since 1984. There were 71 cases in 2017 compared to 96 cases in 2016.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Tan Chye Hee said the police will continue to work with the community to keep crime at bay.

DC Tan said: "Both overall crime and overall crime rate have decreased for a second consecutive year in 2017... As crimes become increasingly transnational, we must not take our safety and security for granted."

Speaking at the Cybercrime and Anti-Scam campaign roadshow held at Suntec City on Saturday, Mrs Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs, said efforts will be stepped up to raise public awareness, and vigilance.

At the event, Mrs Teo presented awards to 34 individuals and 12 organisations for their efforts in preventing scams from escalating.

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