Internet love scams up even as overall crime falls

Singapore was a safer place for many last year, against 2016, with the overall crime rate dipping by 1 per cent to 32,773 cases.

But this was not the case for the lonely hearts who sought love online, the elderly jaywalkers and those who owned electric scooters, according to statistics revealed in the past week by Home Team agencies such as the police force, the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Traffic Police.

Women - and some men - taking public transport and frequenting nightspots also fell prey more to molesters, with police data showing a 22.2 per cent spike in outrage of modesty incidents to 1,566 cases reported last year.

Cases of molestation on public transport jumped 60.5 per cent to 207 last year while such cases at nightspots rose 33.8 per cent.

Internet love scams saw a 29.9 per cent spike to 825 cases last year, with losses rising to $37 million from $24 million in 2016.

There were 40 cases of electric scooters on fire, up from nine in 2016, even as the number of fire calls fell to a 40-year low.

While the traffic fatality rate of 2.17 per 100,000 people was a new low since 1981, concerns rose over the number of accidents involving elderly jaywalkers, which jumped to 101 last year from 82 in 2016.

Immigration offences continued to fall last year, though there were 53 cases of sham marriages, up from 43 in 2016.

Aw Cheng Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2018, with the headline 'Internet love scams up even as overall crime falls'. Print Edition | Subscribe