Villages go months without any crimes

RESIDENTS in rural Suffolk have less than a 7% risk of falling victim to crime in a year, new figures reveal.

Kate McGrath

RESIDENTS in rural Suffolk have less than a 7% risk of falling victim to crime in a year.

This percentage, compiled by the Suffolk Observatory, has fallen consistently over the past five years with just 68.8 crimes reported per 1,000 of the population.

In rural districts, such as Mid Suffolk, this figure falls as low as 4% per person. The second lowest district is Suffolk Coastal where residents have a 5% risk of falling victim to crime.

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Many rural villages go months, and some even years, without reporting a single crime.

Last week Suffolk was revealed as one of the safest places to live with crime falling by 4% in the last year. The county is now ranked the 9th safest in the country.

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Wil Gibson, chief executive of Suffolk Acre, a rural campaign group, said rural areas reflect Suffolk as a safe county.

However, he added: “One issue we need to address in rural areas is the perception of crime, which is often higher than crime itself.

“People think there is more crime than actual figures show. There needs to be more community engagement. Sometimes if people feel isolated their fear of crime is heightened.

“The second point I want to make is for residents to be more aware of their environment. Sometimes people feel it is okay to leave tools in the front garden or shed or garage door open. These are ideal for opportunist thieves.”

Ipswich has the highest level of crime per 1,000 of the population with 117 crimes reported in a year.

The level of crime in each district has fallen year-on-year, which Suffolk Constabulary claim is because of an increased police presence and the work of their safer neighbourhood teams.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Suffolk is one of the safest counties in the country and crime levels are continuing to fall, whilst the detection of crime increases.

“In Suffolk, there are 30 Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) building on traditional community links, working from bases at the heart of the communities they serve.

“SNTs are dedicated to the needs of each specific neighbourhood. Through partnership working with local people - the public, local authorities and other local organisations - communities get a real say in deciding the priorities for the area in which they live.

“All the SNTs hold regular public meetings to give residents a chance to meet their local team and to raise any concerns or issues in their local area. These meetings help to shape the team's three priorities and areas for action. These include opportunities such as surgeries, street briefings and mobile police station visits.

“This work with local communities is helping to drive crime down even further.”

These figures are from 2003-4 to 2007-8. Last year's figures are not available.

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