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Slight decrease in physical crimes in 2023, shop theft and voyeurism case surge: SPF

Singapore Police’s 2023 crime stats show a slight dip in overall physical crime but a worrying spike in shop theft (up 21%) and voyeurism (up 12%).



SINGAPORE – The Singapore Police Force (SPF) released its annual crime statistics on Monday (19 Feb), revealing a mixed picture of crime trends in 2023.

While the total number of physical crime cases experienced a slight decrease by 1.1%, alarming spikes were observed in shop theft and voyeurism offenses.

According to the report, the total reported physical crime cases in 2023 stood at 19,966, down marginally from 20,193 in 2022.

However, the crimes of concern, particularly shop theft and voyeurism, saw significant increases, raising concerns among law enforcement authorities.

Source: The Singapore Police Force (SPF)

According to the report, shop theft constituted the highest proportion of reported cases amongst all the physical crimes.

In 2023, there were 277 days which were free from robbery, snatch theft and theft of motor vehicle – an improvement of 36 days compared to 241 days in 2022. These crimes all saw a decrease in 2023, as compared to 2022.

Surge in shop theft and voyeurism cases in 2023; decline in theft in dwelling reported

Shop theft cases surged by approximately 21%, reaching 3,939 incidents in 2023 compared to 3,244 cases in 2022.

These shoplifting incidents accounted for nearly 20 percent of the total physical crime cases recorded.

Similarly, the number of voyeurism cases also witnessed a rise, with 476 incidents reported in 2023, marking a 12% increase from 424 cases in the preceding year.

The perpetrators of voyeurism targeted various locations, including residential premises, shopping complexes, and public transport.

Notably, over 80% of voyeurism cases in residential areas involved individuals known to the victims, such as their partners, family members, or acquaintances.

The police said, voyeurism cases at shopping malls and on public transport typically involved perpetrators unknown to the victims.

Conversely, theft in dwelling cases experienced a slight decline, with 1,695 incidents reported in 2023 compared to 1,729 cases in 2022.

The majority of thefts in dwelling incidents took place within residential settings and were carried out by individuals familiar to the victims. In 2023, there were 854 such offenses, a decrease from the 881 recorded in 2022.

Additionally, thefts on commercial premises declined to 493 cases in 2023 from 503 cases in the previous year.

Crimes committed on residential properties typically targeted valuables such as cash, jewelry, smartphones, designer handbags, and watches.

The report also highlighted a decrease in outrage of modesty cases, with 1,528 incidents recorded in 2023, down from 1,610 cases in the previous year.

More than half of these cases also involved perpetrators known to the victims, indicating the prevalence of acquaintance-based offenses.

Addressing challenges in combating shop theft

Despite efforts to address the surge in shop theft, challenges persist.

Observers have attributed the rise in shoplifting incidents to various factors, including the introduction of self-checkout systems in supermarkets and economic pressures resulting from inflation.

In response to the concerning trend, the SPF stated that they have been proactively involving individuals of all ages to educate them about the repercussions of engaging in shop theft.

This effort includes utilizing diverse platforms such as school presentations, youth outreach programs, the “Coffee with a Cop” initiative, home visits, and crime prevention seminars conducted jointly by the Police and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

Moreover, the NCPC collaborates with Crime Prevention Ambassadors to regularly interact with the elderly community, providing tailored content in vernacular languages such as Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil.

Initiatives such as the Safe Clubbing Campaign and the Shop Theft Awareness for Retailers (STAR) program have also been introduced to educate both businesses and the public on crime prevention strategies.

The police said as of 31 December, 2023, the STAR program had enlisted the participation of 201 retailers, including well-known establishments like Sephora, Popular, and Mustafa Centre.

They further noted that Sephora has bolstered security measures in their stores by installing surveillance signs to enhance deterrence.

Additionally, Popular has implemented anti-theft locks for specific IT, gaming, and audio accessories on display.

Popular has also adopted additional security measures, such as using spider-wrap security tags, which are attached to products with wired alarms to prevent theft.

Furthermore, lower-value items are equipped with barcode sensors for added security.

While the decrease in physical crime cases may offer some reassurance, the significant uptick in specific offenses underscores the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in ensuring public safety and security.

Director of Operations Department, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Gregory Tan remarked, “Physical crime has seen a reduction in 2023 compared to the previous year.

“This would not have been possible without the strong support from our stakeholders and the community to adopt crime prevention measures. We call upon them to join us, in particular, to prevent, deter and detect physical crimes which have been proving challenging to tackle.

“These include shop theft, and outrage of modesty at night clubs and bars. We believe that by presenting a united front, we have the best chance of sustaining the low levels of crime here, and upholding Singapore’s reputation as one of the safest places in the world,” he added.

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Cost of living so high people are actually stealing to survive. Thanks to the PAP crooks.