Last year, I talked about the slight overall increase in the number of reported crimes in Singapore in 2018 owing to more scam cases. Unfortunately, scams continued to increase in 2019.
The total number of crimes went up by 6.3% to 35,209 cases in 2019. This meant that the Overall Crime Rate also increased to 617 cases per 100,000 population, as compared to 587 cases in 2018. All said, Singapore remains a very safe and secure city for everyone. We held the top position in the 2019 Gallup Global Law & Order report, with 94% of residents saying they felt safe walking home alone at night in their neighbourhood.
The big jump in scam cases in 2019 pushed up the overall crime rate. The total number of scam cases reported increased by 53.5% to 9,502 cases, from 6,189 cases in 2018. Scams actually made up over a quarter of all crimes. More alarmingly, the amount cheated in Singapore reached a record S$168.1 million!
As Singapore becomes more wired up, crimes have also quickly shifted online. Out of the most prevalent scam types, e-commerce scams, loan scams and credit-for-sex scams were of serious concern to NCPC and the Police. Not only did they make up more than 60% of the top ten scams in 2019, the total number of cases for these scams spiked by 54.2% compared to 2018.
To combat scams, NCPC has dedicated a significant proportion of its resources to run intensive public education programmes. In 2019, our Anti-Scam Helpline (1800-722-6688) handled more than 7,000 calls from individuals who required advice on scams. NCPC's ScamAlert.sg website attracted more than 500,000 visitors, reflecting its importance as a source of information on scams. To garner support from the public, a new feature was added to our "Let's Fight Scams" campaign. I am excited to share that we now have more than 6,000 advocates who have pledged to keep themselves updated on the latest scam news, with the aim of sharing with their friends and loved ones.
I am also grateful to our Crime Prevention Ambassadors who volunteered their time to spread crime-related messages to the public. With strong support from the Police and our community partners in 2019, we successfully executed numerous major projects like Crime Watch, Delta League, Neighbourhood Watch Zone and the inaugural Anti-Scam Makeathon.
Given that scams are showing no signs of abating, there is no doubt that NCPC will face more challenges ahead. We will continue to forge close alliances with the community, our stakeholders and sponsors. We will overcome the odds to keep Singapore safe and secure.
GERALD SINGHAM , JP, BBM (L), PBM