Crime rate dips despite rise in violence
VIOLENT crime in Suffolk has risen by more than 6% in the past six months compared to the same period last year, new figures reveal.But it was the only blot on an otherwise encouraging report, which revealed the total crime rate since April has fallen by 3%, with 841 fewer offences reported to police.
By Danielle Nuttall
VIOLENT crime in Suffolk has risen by more than 6% in the past six months compared to the same period last year, new figures reveal.
But it was the only blot on an otherwise encouraging report, which revealed the total crime rate since April has fallen by 3%, with 841 fewer offences reported to police.
The figures are published in a new report for Suffolk Police Authority and show how the force is performing against targets set by the Suffolk First Initiative, which aims to make the county the safest in England and Wales by 2006.
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It shows 5,880 violent crime incidents were reported to police in the first six months of the year - 352 offences greater than the same period last year.
But it said the rate of increase had slowed due to the launch of new crackdowns on the problem, which include the force's Calling Time on Violent Crime initiative.
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There is also a 26.6% reduction in domestic burglary, with 348 fewer offences being recorded which is well within targets set by the police authority.
Robbery has fallen by almost 4% in the first half of the year with 129 incidents being recorded and is also below the target set, which aimed to restrict the number of this type of offence to 290.
The number of reported incidents of vehicle crime has fallen by 539 offences, which represents a 17.1% reduction.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “These figures are very positive and Suffolk is seeing decreases in key crime areas and in total recorded crime.
“There has been a reduction in domestic burglary by more than a quarter, overall total crime is down by three per cent, vehicle crime has fallen and so has robbery.
“Violent crime has seen an increase on the same period as last year but importantly the latest figures show a significant slowing of the rate of increase and this coincides with the launch of the high profile Calling Time on Violent Crime initiative.”
He added: “Measures that Suffolk police have taken to increase visibility patrols and make police officers more accessible appear to be having a positive effect. The targets we have set for the percentage of people knowing or recognising a local police officer continue to be exceeded and the percentage of people feeling very safe in the area where they live is currently more than 15% above last year's figure.”
The report shows 43% of the violent incidents reported fell within the wounding category, which includes grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of weapons with intent.
Harassment and common assault account for 37% of violent crime, with more serious, violence against the person offences such as murder representing just 3% of the total.
The report said performance on violent crime for the last six months has breached the “uppermost control limits”.
It added: “The Constabulary is concerned over the increase and continues to introduce initiatives to directly address this type of offending.”