Channel NewsAsia

Crime rate falls to lowest in 30 years

Singapore's crime rate fell to the lowest in three decades last year. Releasing their annual statistics on Friday, the police said there were 549 cases per 100,000 population last year, as compared to 584 cases per 100,000 population in 2012.

SINGAPORE: Singapore's crime rate fell to the lowest in three decades last year.

Releasing their annual statistics on Friday, the police said there were 549 cases per 100,000 population last year, as compared to 584 cases per 100,000 population in 2012.

There were declines in four categories -- housebreaking, theft, crimes against persons and miscellaneous crimes -- but the number of commercial crimes and violent and serious property crimes rose.

Cheating cases involving E-commerce more than doubled from 238 cases in 2012 to 509 last year.

Victims made online purchases but did not receive their goods or services after payment.

Of those cases, the number of cases involving Multiple Payment Online Purchase Scams spiked from 14 cases to 231 last year.

Those scams involved culprits posing as sellers of smartphones and tablets, but the victims never received the gadgets.

The victims ranged from 14- to 67-year-olds and the amounts involved were between S$70 and S$10,600.

Internet love scams increased to 81 cases last year from 50 in 2012.

The victims ranged from 19- to 74-year-olds and the amounts involved were between S$512 and S$1 million.

The scams usually involved suspects who mostly claimed to be from Britain and targeted women through dating and social networks.

Typically, the culprit would claim that he would be coming to Singapore to marry the victim.

On the supposed day of arrival, the culprit would claim that he was detained for carrying excess cash and would ask the victim to transfer money to secure his release.

To curb such crimes, the police have urged the public to always check on the credibility of information or messages received and not to transfer any money to unknown people.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Lau Peet Meng said: "Once you've been a victim of a crime, especially an online crime -- a scam or a cheating case -- please inform the police as soon as possible.

"We'll do whatever we can to stop the payment, if we can still stop the payment, and if it's in Singapore.

"If not, at the very least, we can inform the rest of the people to be aware of such scams.

"We do work with the police forces around the world to share information and to make sure that we catch perpetrators if we can." 

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