Crime falls, people feel safer - report

CRIME in Suffolk has fallen and the county's residents continue to feel safe, according to figures released by the Home Office today.

CRIME in Suffolk has fallen and the county's residents continue to feel safe, according to figures released by the Home Office today.

The national performance report gives a summary of the British Crime Survey and crimes recorded by the police in 2007/8.

In Suffolk, overall crime dropped by 5.4 per cent with 48,330 crimes recorded. This is 9.5pc drop - equivalent to 5,100 less crimes - compared to 2003/04, the first year of the present counting rules, and is the lowest level for at least seven years.

The report has also found people are feeling safe in Suffolk. Perceived levels of anti-social behaviour, drug-use or dealing, burglary and car crime are low.

The county has some of the lowest perceived levels of these crimes in the Eastern region and nationally.

Meanwhile, the number of crimes solved by Suffolk Constabulary has increased. The detection rate improved by more than 2pc to 30.2pc.

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In total, 14,594 crimes were solved - an extra 271 compared to 2006/07. This compares to a detection rate of 28pc nationally.

The figures also show:

- Violent crime fell by 6.8pc

- Vehicle crime fell by 9.7pc

- Criminal damage fell by 6.7pc

- Burglary fell by 2pc

There was a slight rise in house burglaries of 4.6pc. However, the risk of being a victim of house burglary in Suffolk is 0.6pc compared to 2pc nationally.

The number of drug offences recorded increased by 5.8pc, while the number of sexual offences recorded also went up against the national trend, rising by 5.7pc.

The force today claimed the increase was “almost entirely” attributable to the proactive stance in detecting prostitution offences in Ipswich, following the investigation into the murder of five women in late 2006.

Comparatively, the risk of being a victim of crime is low in Suffolk. Nationally, young men between the ages of 16 and 24 have a 13pc chance of being a victim of crime, but in Suffolk this is much lower at 3.2pc.

The report also shows that 59.3pc of people in Suffolk think that police do a good or excellent job. This compares to 53pc nationally.

There was a 56.1pc confidence level in the police dealing with anti-social behaviour issues in Suffolk, compared to a national confidence level of 45pc.

Suffolk's chief constable Simon Ash said: “I am extremely pleased with this set of performance figures.

“They show a sustained, long-term improvement in the safety of Suffolk and reflect the dedication and commitment that the officers and staff of the constabulary have shown during a particularly challenging period.

“The views of the people we serve are extremely important to us and the results from the British Crime Survey are pleasing.

“However, we want to continue to build on their trust and confidence and deliver the best possible service to the communities of Suffolk.

“Partnership working and an increased presence of community policing, brought about by the introduction of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, will be a key factor not only in helping to reduce crime, but in tackling the fear of crime in the county.”