Crime figures show marked increase in burglaries
BURGLARY rates in Suffolk have increased more in the last year than in any region of the country, according to annual crime figures.
But police have put the rise down to a massive sting operation conducted last year which unearthed more than 400 crimes which they say would otherwise have gone undetected.
The British Crime Survey (BCS) statistics, which compare Suffolk with the rest of the UK’s regional police authorities, found that although overall crime stayed at the same level as last year, burglaries rose by 15%.
In Essex, overall crime fell by 7%, with a notable drop in robberies, drug offences, vehicle crime and criminal damage – but recorded sex offences rose by 9%.
There were fewer recorded offences per 1,000 people in Essex than in Suffolk, with 61 and 65 respectively.
In Suffolk, violent crime and sex offences are also up, but vehicle crime, criminal damage and drugs offences all fell significantly and overall crime remains as low as it has for almost a decade.
More than 5,000 of the 46,447 crimes recorded in the county were burglaries, which police believe appeared more prevalent due to a period of proactive operations, predominantly in Ipswich in June 2009, which lead to an extra 400 crimes bring recorded.
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Suffolk Police refused to comment on the new statistics, but Chief Constable Simon Ash said at the turn of the year that “lower level” violent crime and shoplifting had risen, but that overall crime remained at a very similar level.
He also pointed to Suffolk boasting the second-greatest decrease in vehicle crime in the country, but conceded that a drop in certain offences was counterbalanced by other crimes that need the force’s attention.
The crime survey found that offending is at its lowest national level since 1981, with recorded crime down 9%.
But some categories of violent crime, wounding, violence without injury and mugging showed minor increases.
Compared to last year, there has been a slight 0.2% fall in crime across Suffolk, with 94 fewer crimes recorded than in the same period in 2008/09.
In April, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Stewart Gull said Suffolk remained a safe county despite the challenge of national recession, and that tackling anti-social behaviour was the force’s number one priority this year.
Meanwhile, Essex Police came out in the top nine forces with the lowest crime rates in England and Wales.
Deputy Chief Constable of Essex, Andy Bliss, said: “We are very pleased with these latest figures, which show that Essex continues to be a safe place and sits third in the country for the confidence the public have in us and local authorities to reduce crime.
“Whilst overall crime is down, in some areas there is still more for us to do and we recognise that this must now be achieved against a background of significant budget cuts.”