SINGAPORE, Feb 20 — About a fifth of all physical crime cases in Singapore last year were shop thefts, making it one of the top “crimes of concern” here, the police said yesterday (February 19).

In their annual crime brief for 2023, the police said that there were 3,939 shop theft cases reported last year, 695 more than the 3,244 cases in 2022.

Overall, though, the total number of reported physical crime cases dipped by 1.1 per cent from 20,193 in 2022 to 19,966 in 2023.

The police noted that there were 277 days last year that were free from robbery, snatch theft and theft of motor vehicle — about five weeks more than the 241 days 2022. These crimes all saw a decrease in cases as compared to 2022.


Aside from shop theft, theft in dwelling, outrage of modesty and voyeurism were also highlighted as crimes of concern. Although cases of theft in dwelling and outrage of modesty both declined last year, there were more reports of voyeurism, the police said.

Shop theft

Shop thefts accounted for 19.7 per cent of total physical crime cases last year, an increase from the 16.1 per cent reported in 2022.


Of these cases, 68.1 per cent occurred at retail outlets such as department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, mini marts and convenience stores.

Items typically stolen included food and beverage, alcoholic drinks, personal care products, cosmetics, as well as medical and health supplements.

Such cases are typically detected through suspicious behaviour spotted by store employees, discovery of missing items during stock-taking, or detection of customers leaving with unpaid items at self-checkout terminals through a review of closed-circuit television footage, the police had said in 2022.

To deter people from committing shop theft, the police have been actively engaging the public by raising awareness of the consequences of this crime through talks and engagement programmes.

They have also collaborated with retailers to get them on board the Shop Theft Awareness for Retailers (Star) programme to analyse their stores’ risk factors and vulnerabilities to shop theft, and to identify effective and practical crime prevention measures.

For example, Popular bookstore has deployed anti-theft magnetic locks for certain info-technology, gaming and audio accessories on display.

Department store Mustafa Centre not only distributed and displayed anti-shop theft collaterals, but also shared data with the police to conduct targeted patrols in its store.

As of December 31 last year, 201 retail outlets have joined the Star programme.

Theft in dwelling

Unlike shop theft, theft in dwelling cases dropped from 1,729 in 2022 to 1,695 in 2023. This accounted for 8.5 per cent of the total physical crime cases here.

The number of cases occurring at both residential and commercial locations fell.

There were 854 thefts reported at residential premises last year, compared to 881 in 2022. These cases typically involved items such as cash, jewellery, mobile phones, and branded bags and watches.

For commercial premises, there were 493 cases reported last year, compared to 503 in 2022.

Three out of five theft in dwelling cases were committed, or allegedly committed, by people known to the victims, such as tenants, family members, service providers and friends, the police said.

Outrage of modesty

The number of outrage of modesty cases also declined last year, from 1,610 cases in 2022 to 1,528 in 2023. They accounted for 7.7 per cent of the total physical crime cases here.

Most of these crimes were committed in residential locations, on public transport and at nightspots. The majority (57.9 per cent) involved perpetrators known to the victims.

The number of cases reported on public transport decreased from 178 in 2022 to 169 in 2023. The police said that they are still actively working with transport operators, the Land Transport Authority and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to prominently display anti-crime posters on trains and at train stations and bus interchanges.

A ”police concept train” was also launched last November, aimed at raising awareness among commuters with cautionary messages placed inside MRT train cabins.


Although voyeurism accounted for just 2.4 per cent of physical crime cases here, the number went up from 424 in 2022 to 476 in 2023.

The most common locations where these crimes were committed were at residences, malls and on public transport.

Around 83.4 per cent of voyeurism cases at residential locations were committed by people known to the victims, including boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, household members or tenants.

Cases at malls and on public transport typically involved perpetrators who did not know the victims.

The number of voyeurism cases committed on public transport remained stable despite rising ridership, the police noted.

They said that they will work with the community to enhance public education through advisory messages to deter would-be perpetrators.

Cases at malls increased last year, with 84 reported compared to 54 in 2022, the police said.

To protect patrons, anti-voyeurism mirrors have been fitted in public toilets at several malls, including Downtown East and Kallang Wave Mall, since March 2022.

These mirrors help safeguard the privacy of toilet users by allowing them to view the top of the cubicle without having to physically look up, the police said.

This initiative will be progressively rolled out to more locations. — TODAY