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There has been a sharp increase in crime levels in England and Wales, as fraud and cybercrime have been included in official statistics for the first time.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the incorporation of 5.1 million incidents of fraud last year had contributed to a 70 percent rise in crime levels.
Additionally, for the same period, 2.5 million incidents of cybercrime – which falls under the Computer Misuse Act – were recorded.
The ONS found that the most common form of cybercrime was virus-related, with victim’s often finding that their computer or internet-enabled device have been infected.
Attacking social media accounts and email was also noted for being commonplace.
“It has been argued that crime has not actually fallen but changed, moving to newer forms of crime not captured by the survey,” John Flatley, head of crime at the ONS, was quoted by the Guardian as saying.
“Clearly some crime has moved online but this should be seen in the context of the long-term fall in traditional crime.”
News of this comes on the back of a new report from the City of London Corporation and Cardiff University, which discusses “cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent economic crime”.“Given a large number of people around the world with the motivation to defraud … it is somewhat surprising that the crime rate is not higher.”
The authors of the paper, titled The Implications of Economic Cybercrime for Policing, stated that the inquiry into this field has proved to be far more complex than they had originally anticipated.
“This research has shown that incidences of cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent economic crimes have been rising,” they went on to say.
“Given a large number of people around the world with the motivation to defraud and so many situational opportunities that the internet now provides, it is somewhat surprising that the crime rate is not higher.”
Author Karl Thomas, ESET