Singapore has a reputation for being a safe, peaceful, and orderly city. In 2021, it was ranked the third safest city in the world, losing out on the top spots to Tokyo and Copenhagen. In 2021, Singapore recorded the longest period of serious crime-free days since 2015. However, “low crime does not mean no crime”, as the popular catchphrase in Singapore goes. While violent crime, theft, and crimes against persons are rare occurrences in the city-state, fraud and scams, especially those occurring online, are on the rise.
Digital crimes are on the rise in Singapore
The prevalence of such crimes has led the Singapore Police Force to highlight scams as the crime of concern, especially given the size of the losses incurred by such swindles. 2021 saw the highest rate of crimes committed in Singapore in a decade, due to the increase in crimes involving fraud and scams. In that year, scams involving employment were the most reported type of scams, surpassing e-commerce scams. Typically, such scammers would entice their victims through bogus job advertisements on social media platforms, promising lucrative commissions for jobs that involve little effort. However, to receive their supposed commissions, victims would first have to pay a fee, usually through digital payment methods.
The increased use of digital technology, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a marked rise in cybercrime in Singapore. It is now easier than ever for unscrupulous characters to hide behind the relative anonymity of online communication for criminal gains. A majority of Singapore’s leading scams take place online, whether through messaging apps, e-commerce platforms, or social media. The increased sophistication of online crimes, sometimes involving fake mobile applications, websites, or e-mail communication that are difficult to spot, highlights the need for greater digital literacy and awareness among both the lay population and law enforcement in Singapore.
Strict punishments as a deterrent for committing crimes
Singapore is able to keep its crime rate low by enforcing strict laws and punishments on those who break the law, as well as having a sophisticated system of surveillance. From the high fines for littering to the use of capital punishment for crimes such as drug trafficking and homicide, such measures seem to be an effective deterrent to would-be transgressors. Despite the criticisms from various human rights organizations, Singapore still carries out capital punishment for crimes such as drug trafficking and murder. The harsh penalties imposed on crimes related to drug abuse are also apparent when looking at the Singapore prison population: in 2021, more than two-thirds of the inmate population were there for drug offenses.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Crime in Singapore".