SINGAPORE - Overall crime in 2014 increased by 7.4 per cent, from 29,984 cases in 2013 to 32,196 cases in 2014, according to latest statistics released by the Singapore Police Force.
The surge was largely due to cases of cheating involving e-commerce, which increased by more than three times, from 1,659 cases in 2014 compared to 510 cases in 2013.
The Straits Times reported that the Republic's overall crime rate had hit a 30-year low in 2013.
The rise in the number of youths arrested is also a cause for concern. On the other hand, the unlicensed moneylending situation has improved with harassment cases declining significantly.
Harassment cases declined by 18.3 per cent, from 7,052 cases in 2013 to 5,763 in 2014. Likewise, the number of harassment cases where property was damaged, decreased by 46.4 per cent, from 5,176 in 2013 to 2,772 in 2014.
Cases of cheating involving e-commerce more than tripled, from 510 in 2013 to 1,659 in 2014. This is likely due to an increase in the number of Internet users who use online shopping facilities, according to the police.
These scams include the "Multiple Payment Online Purchase", "Phony PayPal Email" and "Internet Love" scams.
In 2014, there was a growing trend of a new type of scam where culprits would ask their victims to purchase gift cards or virtual credits. 149 cases were reported in 2014, amounting to $138,700 cheated.
Kidnap hoax phone scam
Cases of the "Kidnap Hoax Phone" scam more than doubled, from 13 cases in 2013 to 40 in 2014. The total amount cheated also increased from $81,400 in 2013 to $113,700 in 2014.
Crimes committed by youths
More youths were arrested for rioting in 2014, registering a 13.8 per cent increase from 283 in 2013 to 322 in 2014. Youths arrested for shop theft also increased marginally.
Statutory rape and outrage of modesty
Cases of statutory rape continued to increase. It rose by 15 cases from 51 in 2013 to 66 in 2014. Most of the Statutory Rape offenders were youths and known to the victims.
Meanwhile, outrage of modesty cases saw a 3.2 per cent increase from 1,325 in 2013 to 1,367 in 2014. More cases had also occurred onboard trains and open areas,
Said deputy commissioner of police (investigations and intelligence) Tan Chye Hee: "Overall crime has increased but our crime rate remains low. Crimes are shifting online and new scams are constantly emerging, with victims falling prey every day.
"On a positive note, the Unlicensed Moneylending and Harassment situation has been improving steadily. The police will continue to raise awareness of scams so that members of public will not fall prey to them. We will also press on with our tough enforcement efforts against unlicensed moneylending-related activities."