Overall crime in Singapore last year rose for the first time since 2009, fuelled largely by a spike in cheating cases involving e-commerce.
Annual police statistics released yesterday showed there were 32,196 cases recorded last year - a 7.4 per cent increase from 29,984 cases in 2013.
Police said the crime rate remains low at 589 cases per 100,000 people, which is up slightly from a 30-year low of 549 cases per 100,000 people.
Cheating cases involving e-commerce more than tripled from 510 cases in 2013 to 1,659 last year.
Police said the rise in online cheating cases is likely due to an increase in the number of Internet users who do online shopping.
Cases where victims are duped into making multiple payments for Internet purchases surged by 236 per cent, from 269 cases in 2013 to 904 last year.
Police statistics also show that commercial crimes rose by 42.3 per cent to 5,615 cases last year, even as money laundering cases went down from 85 to 80 cases.
Internet love scams jumped from 81 to 197 cases last year, with victims handing over $8.8 million, up from $5.8 million in 2013.
Yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (investigations and intelligence) Tan Chye Hee stressed that the shift to online crimes remains a key concern for police.
"Crimes are shifting online and new scams are constantly emerging, with victims falling prey every day," he said, adding that the police will continue to raise awareness of scams.
Mr Tan, who is also director of the Criminal Investigation Department, cited the rise in the number of youth involved in crimes as another key concern.
Thirty-nine more youth were arrested for rioting last year, up from 283 arrested in 2013 and 239 in 2012. Overall, the number of youth arrested increased by 2.1 per cent to 3,094 last year.
Mr Vincent Lun, senior pastor of Kingdom Community Church, whose work involves reaching out to young people, said the rise "reflects a deeper sense of alienation and purposelessness among many of our youth" that is due in part to "the breakdown of families".
Fundamentally, strong families are needed to provide a nurturing environment for young people to develop their identities and get a sense of belonging, he added.
The number of statutory rape cases rose to 66 last year, up from 51 in 2013 and 52 in 2012. Most of the offenders were youth who knew the victims, police said.
More outrage of modesty cases took place on board MRT trains and in open areas, leading to a 3.2 per cent increase to 1,367 cases last year.
A new type of scam emerged last year, where culprits would ask people to buy gift cards or virtual credits. There were 149 such cases reported last year, with victims cheated out of $138,700.
Meanwhile, the number of harassment cases stemming from unlicensed moneylending continued to fall, from 7,052 in 2013 to 5,763 last year. The number of such cases has fallen since 2010.
Mr Tan said the police will press on with "tough enforcement efforts" against unlicensed moneylending-related activities.
Growing number of cases
Up 7.4 per cent
2014: 32,196 cases
2013: 29,984 cases
Cheating involving e-commerce
Up 225.3 per cent
Internet love scams
Up 143.2 per cent
Youth involved in rioting
Up 13.8 per cent
Number arrested in 2014: 322
Number arrested in 2013: 283
Outrage of modestyUp 3.2 per cent
Up 29 per cent
Source: Singapore Police Force
This article was first published on Jan 30, 2015.
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