After spiking in 2015 due to online scams, the overall crime rate in the Republic dipped 2.6 per cent last year, but internet crimes continue to rise.At its annual crime brief for 2016 on Friday (Feb 10), the police said the trend of online cheating scams still remain a concern.
The number of internet love scams continues to climb upwards – almost doubling from 385 cases in 2015 to 636 cases in 2016. A new category of scam – China officials impersonation scams – also logged 487 such cases last year, compared to none the previous year.
In terms of monies cheated, the police noted that the money cheated from internet love scams doubled, with S$24 million logged last year. The largest amount cheated in 2016 was S$1.7 million.
Credit-for-sex scams, an area of concern flagged in 2015’s annual crime brief, fell in 2016 – from 1,177 in 2015 to 779 in 2016. The police also noted that the total sum cheated in credit-for-sex scam cases fell by nearly half, from S$3 million in 2015 to S$1.7 million in 2016.
Cheating involving e-commerce registered a drop last year – 2,105 cases compared to 2,239 cases in 2015, but the police flagged it would likely form the bulk of cases in the years ahead.
In the meantime, three crime classes registered 30-year lows: violent/serious property crime, which saw 17.1 per cent decrease from 299 cases in 2015 to 248 cases last year; housebreaking and related crimes, which saw a decrease of 16.2 per cent in cases from 340 in 2015 to 285 cases last year; as well as theft and related crimes – a drop of 9.5 per cent to 14,127 cases last year from 15,615 in 2015.
The number of unlicensed money-lending harassment cases fell 20.4 per cent to a 10-year low – 3,375 cases last year, down from 4,242 cases in 2015.
Said deputy commissioner of the Police Tan Chye Hee: “While the police are encouraged by these achievements, we will press on with our multi-pronged approach of tough enforcement action, community partnerships, public education, and leveraging technology in our continuous fight against crime.”