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Five Things to Know About 2017’s Crime Trends
We summarise the key points of the Singapore Police Force’s annual crime brief, and how you can avoid falling victim to crimes, and help fight crime.

The improvements in Singapore’s crime rate in 2017 was largely due to a decrease in two of the six crime classes, namely Violent/Serious Property Crimes and Theft and Related Crimes. GRAPHIC: Home Team News

In 2017, Singapore was ranked the second safest city in the world, and first in the domain of personal security, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Safe Cities Index 2017. This was affirmed by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in its annual crime brief on 3 February 2018.

According to the SPF, there was a 1% decrease in overall crime from 33,099 cases in 2016 to 32,773 cases in 2017. Likewise, the overall crime rate also registered an improvement, with 590 cases per 100,000 people in 2016 compared to 584 cases per 100,000 people in 2017.

Here are five things you should know from the SPF’s annual crime brief:

1. Members of the public continue to fall for Internet love scams and E-commerce scams.

Last year, Internet love scam cases increased by 29.9%, from 635 cases in 2016 to 825 cases in 2017. Victims lost $37 million, and the largest amount cheated in a single case was close to $6 million.

What you can do: Protect yourself from falling prey to Internet love scams by being wary of strangers who befriend you online.

Comparison of 2016 and 2017 statistics on Internet love scams. GRAPHIC: SPF

E-commerce scams also remain a concern, with 1,961 cases reported in 2017. The largest amount cheated in a single case last year was close to $60,700.

E-commerce scam statistics
Comparison of 2016 and 2017 statistics on cheating involving e-commerce. GRAPHIC: SPF

What you can do: For online purchases, exercise extra caution when you come across unrealistic bargains for items like concert tickets, apparel, hotel stays and electronic products. If in doubt, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s Scam Alert! website.

2. Online fraud continues to transcend national boundaries.

The borderless nature of the Internet makes online crimes such as fraud particularly challenging to deter. Most online commercial crimes are committed remotely by foreign syndicates. In 2017, the Police arrested and successfully prosecuted several money mules involved in impersonation scams related to China officials. The Police will also continue to work closely with global law enforcement counterparts to crack down on overseas syndicates that target Singaporeans.

3. Vigilance is key to preventing scams.

Scams happen not only when the vulnerable are preyed upon, but also when those who can intervene don’t do so. That’s why it’s important for stakeholders – such as remittance agencies, banks and other businesses that do fund transfers – raise awareness of scams and work closely with the Police to prevent them.

One laudable example is remittance firm Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd. Their employees are trained to look out for tell-tale signs of scams when facilitating fund transfers. Some of these signs include transactions with dubious recipients, as well as transactions involving sums above $10,000.

“When we do spot a possible scam, our Compliance Department will call the customer to verify with him or her,” said Sky Lim, 31, Corporate Service Manager of Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd. “We’ll also contact the SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department and let the customer meet up with its officers to ensure that the transaction isn’t a scam.”

Sky Lim
Partners in curbing scams: Sky Lim, together with colleagues from Zhongguo Remittance Pte Ltd, received tokens of appreciation at the Cybercrimes & Anti-Scam Campaign Roadshow 2018 for their public spiritedness in preventing scams. PHOTO: Jamie Ang

4. Safeguarding ourselves against outrage of modesty cases.

Outrage of modesty cases increased 22.2% from 1,282 cases in 2016 to 1,566 cases in 2017. While the Police has enhanced its presence at public transportation nodes and public entertainment outlets, members of the public can also do their part by being alert.

What you can do: If you’re a victim of molestation, report the crime early to help in the identification and arrest of suspects. Seek help and call “999” immediately to increase the chances of apprehending the suspect. Remember prominent features of the suspect, the direction the suspect headed to, and the mode of transport used. If you witness a case of molestation and it’s safe to do so, assist in detaining the suspect while waiting for the Police to arrive. Only step forward to help if you’re sure of your own safety.

5. The community plays a vital role in fighting crime.

It’s all about our networks. Do your part to keep our neighbourhoods crime-free by joining the Citizens on Patrol(COP) or Neighbourhood Watch Zones (NWZs). To date, there are more than 8,000 COP members who serve as the “eyes and ears” of the Police in their respective communities. COP members also distribute crime prevention pamphlets and offer crime prevention advice during patrols. NWZs encourages residents to keep an eye on one another’s premises and organises dialogues on how to curb crime.

What you can do: If you’re keen to volunteer to help keep Singapore safe and secure, indicate your interest at SPF_Volunteers@spf.gov.sg.


For more on SPF’s annual crime brief 2017, visit the Police website.

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Yuslina Aziz
  2. 06 February 2018
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