A boy sits in front of a computer. Image Credit: Getty Images

Dubai: The number of cybercrimes committed against children increased from 29 complaints in 2017 to 52 complaints last year, according to Dubai Police.

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs at Dubai Police, said that cybercrimes had become a global threat requiring a greater collective effort and more innovative solutions.

He added that Dubai Police was constantly developing ways to fight online crime and facilitating methods to report it.

Online crimes targeting children jumped from 34 in 2016 and 29 in 2017 to 52 last year, according to Dubai Police.

The most common age for young victims as per recorded crimes was between 13 and 18.

175 cases

of electronic blackmail last year compared to 112 cases in 2017

“Children’s statements are taken in dedicated rooms in either hotels or shopping centres to safeguard them from the consequences of being victimised,” said Al Mansouri.

He added that all officers understand how people use the web to prey on children, how to investigate such crimes and how to effectively safeguard victims.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jalaf, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police said that cybercrime causes an annual international loss of up to $6 trillion (Dh22 trillion).

“Dubai Police recorded 175 cases of electronic blackmails last year compared to 112 cases in 2017. We recorded 711 cases of hacking and breaching privacy of victims and 1,406 electronic fraud in the last three years,” said Al Jalaf.

He added that Dubai Police continues to spread awareness among society to help people understand how to avoid cybercrime and what to do.

“Besides campaigns, Dubai Police keep posting awareness content on social media accounts and is addressing the youth with modern and interesting posts that would attract their attention,” he said.

He added that the absence of parental control and monitoring may threaten their children’s safety as children have more access to smart phones and tablets.

Captain Abdullah Al Shehi, from the Cybercrime Department of Dubai Police, said that they recently received a complaint from a 16-year-old boy who was the target in a cyber extortion incident. “A suspect tried to lure the boy with money and expensive gifts but failed when the boy informed his father who advised him to report the case through Dubai Police’s e-crime platform. We provided mental and psychological support for the boy,” Al Shehi added.