County is the safest in the country

By John HowardPEOPLE living in Suffolk are the least likely in England to be burgled, according to new Home Office crime statistics.The figures revealed Suffolk had the lowest burglary rate in England – with Essex in seventh place – and only Dyfed-Powys in Wales had a better record.

By John Howard

PEOPLE living in Suffolk are the least likely in England to be burgled, according to new Home Office crime statistics.

The figures revealed Suffolk had the lowest burglary rate in England – with Essex in seventh place – and only Dyfed-Powys in Wales had a better record.

They showed there were 2,284 burglaries in Suffolk in 2002/3, equivalent to 81 burglaries per 10,000 homes. By comparison, Dyfed-Powys had 666 burglaries (32 per 10,000 homes), Essex had 7,138 break-ins (106 per 10,000 homes) and the worst area, West Yorkshire, had 36,406 burglaries (426 per 10,000 homes).


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Christine Laverock, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, welcomed the figures, but said more generous funding from the Government would help the force maintain a quality service.

She added: "We are very pleased to see how Suffolk compares nationally. The reason for that is investment in police officers and the help from the pubic."

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Suffolk Police Authority and Suffolk Constabulary have launched Suffolk First, a major initiative with the goal of making the county the safest in the country by April 2006.

It aims to ensure residents not only were safe from becoming victims of crime and disorder, but also felt safe living and working in Suffolk.

One of the ways in which the force and the police authority planned to meet its target was by preventing and solving more house burglaries.

Across the whole country, the figures showed a year-on-year rise in domestic burglaries of 2%, ending several years of improvements since a peak in the early 1990s.

But experts believe the figures greatly underestimated the true picture and it is thought only 65% of victims bothered to report a break-in to police.

The statistics also showed the most commonly-stolen item in burglaries was cash (in 39% of break-ins), followed by jewellery (23%), CDs, videos, and DVDs (19%) and wallets, credit cards and cheque books (18%).

Computers have taken over from televisions and stereos as the most popular electronic goods to steal, while the theft of car keys has also more than doubled in a year.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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