Big drop in overall crime in first 6 months

Big drop in overall crime in first 6 months

SINGAPORE - Overall crime has experienced its sharpest fall in recent times, according to the police's half- year report out on Friday.

Cases in the first six months of this year were down 6.3 per cent from the same period last year.

It is the biggest drop in the last four years, keeping Singapore on track to better last year's annual crime rate of 581 cases for every 100,000 people - a 29-year low.

Loan shark harassment cases, a bugbear of the police, fell by nearly 10 per cent, after a get- tough policy and a national education campaign.

Lucky draw phone scams were more than halved, housebreaking at residences was down by more than 30 per cent, molestation incidents on trains and buses fell by nearly 11 per cent, while bicycle thefts dropped nearly 8 per cent.

One worrying trend, however, was the rising number of extortion cases, up nearly 23 per cent.

Most of the 54 cases this year occurred online, and involved male victims who were persuaded by female suspects based overseas into undressing and performing indecent acts in front of a webcam.

Crimes in which people suffered serious physical hurt also rose by more than 14 per cent, with the police sharing their concern over the increase of such cases at construction sites. Among construction workers, such incidents jumped to 17 from just four in the first half of last year.

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