Reported cases of fraud in Malta have increased by a mammoth 260% since 2016, the Annual Crime Report has revealed.
There were 1032 reported cases of fraud in 2018, an additional 245 cases (31%) from the previous year, and a further 642 from 2016.
Reported drug offences is also on the rise, jumping by 12% to 322 in 2018, the highest figure recorded since 2004.
Domestic violence has also increased from what was considered a stable rate of 7% to 8.2%, with psychological harm (10%) and slightly bodily harm (8%) also on the up.
In its second year being recorded as a distinct category, money laundering recorded a significant increase of 94% in 2018, reaching 33 cases
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, the report’s author Professor Saviour Formosa noted that the figures show a distinct change in the types of crimes being committed, moving from a more social nature (for example thefts) to an increased focus on financial-related offences.
In general, however, there has been a 7.1% decrease in crimes, indicating a major reversal from the rates recorded between 2010-2016
It should be noted that the crime rate in Malta is significantly lower than most EU states, being well below the EU average of 59 offences per 1,000 people starting at 34 offences per 1,000 people.
Most of the major categories such as theft have decreased, with theft from beaches dropping by 46% to 152 cases. The figure is all the more surprising when taking into account the influx of tourists over the last few years.
Thefts from residences, however, has significantly increased by 31 cases reaching a total of 623.
Looking at individual localities, the majority of offences reported per capita occur in Mdina, Floriana, St Julian’s, Valletta and Marsa respectively. This represents an improvement for St Julian’s, which repeatedly topped the list in previous years.
When it comes to domestic violence, most reported offences take place in Bormla, Floriana, Isla, Birgu, Għaxaq, and Pembroke.
The report shows how Maltese residents constituted the majority of victims (74.3%), followed by UK (2.5%). Italians, French, Germans, and Spanish mostly make up the other groups that have suffered victimisation.
In terms of gender, the main victims are male, growing steadily to 57.6% in 2018, with females composing 42.2% of victims
Females were mainly victims of prostitituion, trafficking, sexual offences and domestic violence, while males were mostly victims of arson, bodily harm and fraud.
When looking at age demographics, the main age of victims ranges from 40-59, followed by 20-29, 30-39 and 60+.
Under 18s were mostly victims of pornography and sexual offences, while people 60+ mostly fell victim to forgery, fraud, and theft.