Crime at its lowest for almost a decade

CRIME in Suffolk is at its lowest for almost a decade after overall offending fell for the fifth consecutive year.

Latest annual performance figures released today by Suffolk Constabulary show that in the last year the force recorded 4,045 fewer crimes than in 2001/2002.

The figures, calculated from April 1, 2009 to March 31 this year, reveal a 0.2% drop in crime compared to the previous year.

Senior officers have put the decline down to pro-active police operations, carried out predominantly in Ipswich throughout June 2009, which led to an extra 400 crimes being logged – particularly shoplifting and burglary offences – and saw in excess of 100 arrests made.

The latest figures show that overall crime fell by 0.2% to 46,447, with 94 fewer recorded crimes than in 2008/2009.

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Suffolk police’s temporary assistant chief constable Stewart Gull paid tribute to the work of the county’s growing safer neighbourhood teams for helping to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

He said: “We have worked hard in recent years to embed this model into local communities.

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“But the key to security is held not just by police. Communities now play a vital role in law enforcement.

“A number of house burglaries are committed simply through insecurity. If a house is secure, it is less likely to be targeted. Suffolk is a safe place to live – one of the safest in the country, but we want to further reduce burglary, robbery and vehicle crime in the upcoming year.”

The figures reveal that vehicle crime fell significantly by 18% and robbery also dropped by 9%. Criminal damage decreased by 8%, with 890 fewer crimes recorded in the county.

However, instances of violent crime rose by 7% and domestic burglaries shot up 14%. Suffolk Constabulary said the surges in these crimes could be explained by the country’s sustained financial slump of the last year. Mr Gull said: “This increase is clearly a cause for concern and demonstrates that we cannot be complacent.

“I think it would be fair to say that the recession can be a contributing factor and academic research indicates there can be a tendency for escalation in crime.”

Gulshan Kayembe, chair of Suffolk Police Authority, said: “These latest figures show the constabulary is doing well, which is pleasing. We will continue to monitor the constabulary’s progress in the year ahead.

“Particular attention will be paid to increased partnership working and an increased presence of community policing through safer neighbourhood teams, which we believe is a key factor in achieving a sustained improvement to policing for the communities of Suffolk.”

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