The rise in scam-related cases contributed largely to the increased crime rate in Singapore in the first half of this year, according to Police.
Police revealed on Fri (30 Aug) that the overall crime rate rose by 7 per cent in the first half of 2019 from the same period last year, namely from 15,649 cases in 2018 to 16,745 cases in 2019.
“If cases related to the top ten types of scams are excluded, the increase in the total number of reported crimes for the first half of 2019 from the same period in 2018 was just 0.5% (from 13,089 to 13,154),” said Police, a stark contrast from the statistics that took scams into account.
E-commerce scams, loan scams, credit-for-sex scams and internet love scams make up the most crucial four out of the top 10 scams, with the four types of scams making up an overwhelming majority of 80 per cent of scam-related reports in the first half of 2019, as seen in the table below.
Police added that the total number of reported cases for the aforementioned four types of scams alone also increased significantly by almost 60 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2018.
E-commerce scams – which proliferate on online “marketplace” platforms such as Carousell, Shopee and Lazada, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram – topped the list of scams, with an increase of 42 per cent in reported cases in the first half of 2019, and a total of S$1.2 million cheated from victims. The largest amount of money cheated in a single case in the first half of 2019 was S$43,000.
Cases concerning outrage of modesty are a secondary contributor to the increase of crime rate in the first half of this year, as Police noted that there has been “a rise in OM cases reported in shopping” malls compared to the same period last year.
OM cases at shopping malls increased by 31.4 per cent to 67, up from 51 in the same period in 2018.
However, OM cases in Singapore’s public transport system have decreased by 9.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. OM cases on public buses and LRT/MRT trains dipped by 20.6 per cent.
The drop in OM cases on public transport such as buses and trains can be linked to regular police patrols and increased public awareness regarding such crimes, in addition to the Riders-on-Watch (ROW) scheme launched by the Public Transport Security Command, according to Police.
The ROW scheme allows volunteers, comprising members of the public, to be the first to respond to possible threats or suspicious incidents on all public transport. ROW volunteers will alert the incident to Police for investigation.
Despite that, the amount of OM cases reported at bus interchanges and LRT/MRT stations saw a 26.7 per cent spike in thee first half of this year from that in the same period in 2018, that is from 30 to 38.
Looking at the findings, OM “remains a concern due to the high number of cases reported,” according to Police.