Singapore Police Force (SPF) says that crime touched a 30-year low in 2013 but there's an increase in commercial and cyber crimes
In April 2013, Kishore Mahbubani, the dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, claimed in his regular column in the Strait Times that “one of the biggest blessings Singapore has is that it is one of the safest cities in the world”. “Some of it is clearly due to the very successful Singapore Police Force (SPF) we have,” he had claimed.
That certainly seems true according to the Annual Crime Brief 2013 released by SPF recently. “Overall crime reported in 2013 fell by 4.3% as compared to 2012. Significant dips were seen in four of the six crime classes, namely crimes against persons, housebreaking and related crimes, theft and related crimes and miscellaneous crimes,” said the police.
But, interestingly, some key concerns emerged last year, mainly cheating involving e-commerce and commercial crimes.
“Commercial crimes increased by 373 cases (10.6%) from 3,507 cases in 2012 to 3,880 cases in 2013. In particular, cheating and related offences increased by 286 cases (+9%) from 3,180 cases in 2012 to 3,466 cases in 2013,” noted the SPF.
Additionally, e-commerce cheating cases saw a surge of 271 cases (+113.9%) from 238 cases in 2012 to 509 cases in 2013. Describing the modus operandi of the perpetrators, the police said, “The scam involves culprits posing as sellers of smart phones/tablets, who would then cheat victims by failing to deliver the goods purchased and yet ask for further payments on the pretext of mixed delivery orders. Victims typically accede to the request for further payment but end up not receiving the item.”
Another concern expressed by SPF are the “Internet Love Scams”, which registered an increase in 2013 from 50 cases in 2012 to 81 cases in last year. Notably, the amount cheated rose from to S$5.8m in 2013. It was S$1.18m a year earlier.
These “love scams” are carried out mainly by suspects “who mostly claim to be from Britain and target women searching for love online through dating or social networks”, elaborated the police.
“Correspondences are made through emails or phone calls. In such cases, the suspect would claim that he would be coming to Singapore to ask for the victim’s hand in marriage. On the supposed day of arrival, the suspect would then call the victim and claim that he had been detained by Customs for carrying excess cash. The victim would then be asked to transfer money to secure his release. In another variation, the suspect would claim to be sending a parcel containing valuable items such as branded bags and watches. The suspect would then ask the victim to transfer money to clear penalty charges imposed on the items.”
Ng Guat Ting, Assistant Commissioner of Police concluded, “Singapore recorded the lowest crime rate in 30 years. The support from the public in our crime fighting efforts, along with increased awareness and education of crime, has allowed us to reach this milestone achievement. With the community’s continued support, we will strive to do better and will devote more energy and focus to make this happen.”
A slight drop in outrage of modesty cases
“Singapore recorded 1,325 cases in 2013, a slight drop of 6.7% from a year before. The number of cases reported for outrage of modesty has fallen by 95 cases (-6.7%), from 1,420 cases in 2012 to 1,325 cases in 2013. Cases reported onboard buses have decreased slightly by 3 cases (-3%), from 94 cases in 2012 to 91 cases in 2013. Cases reported onboard trains have increased slightly by 5 cases (+8%), from 60 cases in 2012 to 65 cases in 2013. Overall, arrests onboard buses and trains have increased by 10 persons (+14%), from 70 persons in 2012 to 80 persons in 2013,” informs SPF.
Apart from conducting regular patrols at the train networks and bus interchanges, the SPF also “encourage victims not to remain silent and to expose culprits at the earliest opportunity possible, to ensure that the culprit is caught and to save others from being victimized”.