Fraud tops the list of the most common crimes
After the Office for National Statistics revealed that there were almost six million incidents from in the year to the end of March across England and Wales, fraud and computer misuse have now become the most common type of crime. So common in fact, that people are now 20 times more likely to be a victim of fraud than robbery.
3.8 million incidents of fraud and two million of computer misuse, such as hacking, were recorded in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which added these types of offences to other common crimes in October last year. The total of these crimes now almost equals that of all other offences combined.
Around half of the 3.8m fraud causes, were cyber-related, a figure which along with other data, gives rise for concern among officials, including City of London Police Commander Chris Greany,
“I think the figures show fraud and cyber-crime is a serious matter we need to look at. The crime survey as a sample survey showed it was very high and this just goes to support that, so there is lots more work to do for the whole of law enforcement and society to protect themselves from fraud and cyber-related crime.
“You can target 1,000 people within 10 minutes with one spam email across the world. The internet allows a much greater speed of access for criminals to target their victims.”
Computer and device viruses accounted for 1.4million the two million computer misuse incidents, with the remaining 600,000 cases relating to “unauthorised access to personal information.”
Policing minister Brandon Lewis noted that the Government are committed to giving fraud and cyber crime the attention it warrants, and have been for some time,
“As crime falls, we know that it is also changing. Fraud and cyber offences are not a new threat and the Government has been working to get ahead of the game, committing to spend £1.9bn on cyber security and cyber crime over the next five years.
“We have also established the Joint Fraud Taskforce, bringing together law enforcement and the banking sector, while Action Fraud, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and the National Crime Agency are working to improve our response.
“We welcome today’s experimental ONS figures on fraud and cyber-crime – offences which we have always known were happening but were previously unable to quantify. Having an accurate national picture will be crucial to inform future action.”
Bank and credit card account fraud were the most common type with 2.5m incidents recorded, with online shopping scams and other “non-investment” fraud coming in second.
The Crime Survey and police figures conflict, with the former showing a 6% fall in crime overall and the latter reporting an 8% rise, however it’s believed that better policing recording methods may account for this discrepancy.
However homicide cases went up by 34 cases, one of the highest levels in over five years.
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