Figures released by The Office for National Statistics indicate that there more than 5 million fraud incidents in England Wales in 2014. When you take on board the total population of England and Wales, this is a high figure and it indicates how widespread fraud is in the modern era.

The fact that there are so many different types of fraud, on a very wide scale of severity and financial impact means that a lot of people are greatly at risk of this type of crime. This is the first time that these figures have been provided by the ONS and they are based on incidents highlighted in the Crime Survey.

In addition to the high volume of fraud being committed, there were also more than 2.5 million offences relating to cybercrime. Computer hacking was the most common form of crime of this nature but there a broad range of crimes that can be included within this remit. The overall figures hail from police figures and information provided by The Crime Survey of England and Wales, which is related to the number of people who state that they have been victims of crime.

Police figures indicate that fraud and cybercrime is on the rise

The information provided by The Crime Survey suggests that there has been an 8% fall in the level of crimes that it covers but the information provided by the police indicates that there has been rise in crime of 5%. Clearly there are different elements to these statistics and the fact that they reveal different figures shouldn’t be surprising, but there will be some people who point to the difference and then question the validity of the figures. Mind you, no matter the methodology or findings, there will always be some people that question the overall findings, that is human nature!

In other more concerning news with respect to the police figures, the indications appear to say that there has been a 25% increase in violence. The level of murders in England and Wales is also at the highest it has been for the four past years. With respect to homicides, there were 569 in the 12 months leading up to June and this is an increase of 44 on the same time period from the previous year.

People need to be aware of these crimes

There has been the suggestion that traditional crimes have been falling in the Western world so these latest findings will come as quite a shock to many people. In reality though, it can’t come as much of a shock. Given the economic situation and the difficult financial position many people find themselves in, surely it is understandable that many people will turn to a life of crime.

Clearly there are many different types of crime that can be committed, even with a financial motive. A robbery is extremely difficult from a considered fraud such as a boiler room fraud, and they can bring about different results, but a crime is a crime and they all count towards the total statistics.

While the level of cybercrimes and fraud is still a far way off the peak of 19 million it reached in 1995, the fact that the figure stands at 14 million will be a concern to many people. If you focus on trends, then the current trend for these crimes is rising.

When you think about the increasing use of mobile and smartphone devices, and the length of time that we spend on the internet, you have to think that cybercrime is more likely to happen. Some people live their entire lives on the internet these days and even if they are quite savvy when it comes to staying safe online, they have to find themselves at greater risk.

There is no denying that the nature of crime is changing and there is a need for people and the law enforcement agencies to change as well. People need to know what sort of crimes are occurring and they need to protect themselves better. Prevention is always the best form of cure and this is true when it comes to fraud and cybercrime. There is also a need for police to be better informed about these crimes and to be faster and more effective in shutting these people down or catching them in the act.

It is right that people are worried about fraud and cybercrime in 2015, but one of the good things about having people worried is that people will be alert. This will hopefully help to minimise the level of fraud that people are exposed to.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.