Recession could be linked to rise in robberies

CRIME across Suffolk is at a 10-year low, according to a report published by Suffolk Police today

Overall the number of reported crimes has dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to the Home Office figures.

The figures show between April 2010 and March this year, 46,357 crimes were recorded by Suffolk Police, which is a drop of 0.2 per cent compared to last year and 4,135 fewer crimes than in 2001/02.

But this comes at the same time as the number of robberies increased by 23 per cent in a shift which could be linked to the recession.

Drug-related offences have plummeted by 17 per cent and criminal damage has dropped by five per cent, but “acquisitive crimes” including robbery, house burglaries and vehicle crime have all risen, which senior officers say could be down to the economic climate.


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Detective Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer welcomed the overall drop in crime. She said: “This success is down to the officers and the staff working at the front line and the people who support them. It’s a testament to their hard work and tenacity over the past year and that commitment and hard work will continue.

“We have seen an increase in what we would call personal robberies – largely people on their own late at night, perhaps walking home, and it’s personal items like iPods and phones that are being stolen – and an increase in robberies on business premises.

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“Any robbery is worrying for us because robberies by their very nature mean there has been an element of violence attached. These are hugely traumatic crimes and the after-effects are quite bad.”

She added: “We don’t know whether the recession is to blame but we do tend to see patterns in crime. We had a decrease in burglaries for many years and then in the past year, it has gone up, so it may well be linked to the economic climate.

“Some of it is just opportunistic. They will see windows or doors open and just try their luck, especially in the nice weather when it’s easy for us to go out and forget to lock up.”

DCC Cheer called on residents to remember to lock their houses and cars especially over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekends to minimise the risk from opportunistic thieves.

Public order offences have also dropped by 12 per cent, which officers say is down to the work being done in the county’s town centres on Friday and Saturday nights.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Marshall said: “We have faced a great many challenges this year, not least the financial implications of the spending review, so it is extremely pleasing that crime has decreased again this year.

“This further reflects the fact that not only is Suffolk a safe county but it is one of the most efficient forces in the country.

“There are still many areas we need to focus on. This year has seen a large increase in robberies in Suffolk and this is something we have been keen to address.

“We also recognised a worrying trend in serious acquisitive crime and have worked hard to put this right.”

<PANEL>

Crime Category April – March 2009/10 April – March 2010/11 Per cent change

Violence against the person 10118 10190 + 1

Sexual offences 737 705 - 4

Robbery 249 304 + 23

Vehicle crime 3693 3933 + 6

Domestic burglary 1889 2006 + 6

Criminal damage 10420 9857 - 5

Drug offences 1822 1505 - 17

Other offences 17523 17857 + 2

Total Crime 46449 46357 - 0.2%

Overall solved rate 30.8% 32.9%

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