Domestic violence, money-laundering police reports up last year

In the year 2018, which saw the overall rate of reported crimes decreasing by 7% or 1,211 cases since the previous year, certain crimes seem to have metamorphosed into others as financial-related offences and cyber-crimes have increased

Criminologist Saviour Formosa presented the finding of the Reported Crime Annual Report 2018
Criminologist Saviour Formosa presented the finding of the Reported Crime Annual Report 2018

The Reported Crime Annual Report 2018 revealed that domestic violence and fraud were highly reported last year though the overall rate of reported crimes decreased by 7% since 2017.

The results of the report were presented today by Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia and criminologist Saviour Formosa.

“Though population is increasing and in 2018 we saw the unprecedented increase in tourism—an ideal recipe for criminality—the rate of reported crimes has continued to decrease,” Farrugia said.

In the EU, an average of 59 criminal reports are filed per 1000 citizens. The Maltese rate of reported crime is lower than this median: 34 reports per 1000 persons.

“This shows that something is being done, some measures were taken,” Farrugia said, adding that pickpocketing, for example, had drastically decreased (by 50%)  thanks to the collaboration between different police units.

“The word got round, that if you go to Malta and start pickpocketing you will get caught, so pickpockets are refraining from carrying it out,” he said.

With regards to domestic violence, Farrugia said that it was a case of needing better education and increased respect between the genders.

Reports of domestic crime increased by 8% when it comes to bodily harm and 10% when it comes to psychological harm.

Formosa, who presented the report’s findings, said that this increased in areas that don’t usually see these kinds of crimes—Siggiewi, Mdina, Pembroke—because while psychological harm metamorphosed into physical abuse in places like Isla, Bormla and Floriana, cases of psychological crime had now increased.

This is the second year in a row where overall reported crimes saw a downturn. Formosa explained however that the perception was the opposite.

“There is a case of moral panic where certain major crimes bombard social media and there’s a perception that criminality is rife. In fact, most crimes have decreased,” he said.

Police reports have also increased with regards to financial-related crimes where fraud reports increased by 31% and money-laundering reports increased by 94% in 2018, reaching 33 cases from a count of 17 in the previous year.

Computer-related crimes increased by 20% with most victims being under 18 in cases of pornography and other sexual offences.

Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar explained how police presence had contributed to the decreased rates of crime in Paceville with 30 officers patrolling the area on a regular basis.

“Likewise, committing more police resources to the relatively new realms of financial crime and computer-related crime will minimise offences here. In two years, from six inspectors specifically investigating fraud, we now have a total of 13 on fraud and money-laundering,” he said.

Cutajar added that he was happy with the results of the 2018 report but simultaneously understood that more needed to be done in certain areas.