Crime 'at lowest level in four years'

CRIME in Suffolk has fallen to its lowest level in four years - with the police operation during the Ipswich red light killings believed to have played a major part.

By Danielle Nuttall

CRIME in Suffolk has fallen to its lowest level in four years - with the police operation during the Ipswich red light killings believed to have played a major part.

The number of offences reported to police in the 12 months up to April fell from 52,831 to 51,096 - a 3.3% drop.

However, there were also 42,710 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the same period, the equivalent of around 117 every day. Around half of those were for rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour.


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Last night, police welcomed the drop in crime, which included a fall in house burglaries.

The reduction was partly helped by tumbling crime rates during December and January while Suffolk Constabulary probed the killings of five prostitutes.

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During the initial phase of the investigation, which saw officers drafted in from across the country, crime in some areas fell to their lowest level in years.

However, crime has been gradually decreasing over a longer period, from November last year to February.

The figures are revealed in a performance report due to be discussed by Suffolk Police Authority on Friday.

It reveals how house burglary rates fell by 12.7% during 2006/07 - 245 fewer offences.

The force puts this down to targeting prolific offenders who are responsible for a large proportion of crime in the county.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, Suffolk police's head of crime management, said: “We are pleased with the performance,

“We recorded 1,735 fewer offences compared with the previous year. Included in that fall is a substantial reduction in house burglary of more than 12%.

“House burglary is a particularly distressing crime for its victims - and the fact that there were 245 fewer homes broken into across the county can only be good.”

He added: “While crime fell, we actually detected more of it than in the previous year, with the number of sanctioned detections increasing by nearly 300 offences.

“Much of the success was down to using information gathered from the community and other sources to target persistent offenders.”

The level of violent crime during 2006-7 increased by 1.9% (208 offences) but the report said there were fewer offences of violent crime committed in a public place.

Det Chief Supt Gull said the violent crime category included a range of offences, such as verbal threats and minor assaults which caused little or no injury.

“The small rise shows that we must continue to target violent crime - and we will do so through on-going initiatives, such as Nightsafe,” he said.

“We know that increased high visibility policing has the right effect - and I am confident that the extra Police Community Support Officers now working with our regular officers and Specials across the county will help us with this.”

The report shows vehicle crime rose by 2.2% during 2006-7 (117 offences) while criminal damage increased by 0.1% (17 offences).

During the period, the force received 100,351 emergency calls which was almost 5% higher than the previous year.

Despite this, it answered 94.4% within 10 seconds, beating the National Call Handling Standard target of 90%.

Det Chief Supt Gull said the force would continue to target organised, cross-border crime, such as bogus caller incidents and drug dealing in the year ahead.

NUMBER OF CRIMES RECORDED IN SUFFOLK

2001/02 - 50,492

2002/03 - 50,315

2003/04 - 53,443

2004/05 - 52,101

2005/06 - 52,831

2006/07 - 51,096

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