Violent crime set to soar
VIOLENT crime is on course for a massive 20% rise in Suffolk in just one year, police admitted last night.The number of violent offences recorded in the county is expected to hit 10,438 by the end of next month, compared to 8,786 the previous year.
VIOLENT crime is on course for a massive 20% rise in Suffolk in just one year, police admitted last night.
The number of violent offences recorded in the county is expected to hit 10,438 by the end of next month, compared to 8,786 the previous year.
The force has also fallen short on many of the targets within the Suffolk First Initiative to make the county the safest in England and Wales by 2006, including burglary, robbery and criminal damage.
Police have blamed the rise in violent crime on a “the long hot summer of 2003” which caused the number of alcohol-related incidents to soar, but insist Suffolk is still the safest county in England.
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A spokesman for force said: “We did have an extremely busy summer. It was the long hot summer of 2003 and it did result in extra crimes being committed, particularly in the resort areas like Lowestoft, and also Ipswich.
“Lots of people went there on holiday, and more drinking was going on. At times we were kept very busy during that period.
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“After that period came to an end, our performance improved and the number of offences dropped off.
“Any rise in crime is disappointing but we have to see it in context and we are still the safest county in which to live.”
The figures are in a report discussed by Suffolk Police Authority on March 19.
They show incidents involving criminal damage look set to rise from 11,497 in 2002/03 to 12,735 in 2003/04, which is below the target set of 11,497.
The detection rate for criminal damage is also on course to fall from 19.2% in 2002/03 to 18.8% against a target of 22%.
Domestic burglary looks set to rise from 2,284 to 2,381 while robberies, per 1,000 population, are expected to increase from 249 to 287.
The force appears to be winning the battle against vehicle crime with offences expected to hit 5,841 at the end of next month compared to 6,282 in 2002/03 and is on course to beat the target of 6,120.
Disorder also looks set to fall from 19,761 to 17,310 - beating the target of 19,761.
“Our performance is pretty good compared to other similar forces. Obviously, these figures outline the amount of work we have to do to maintain our good standing at the moment,” said the force spokesman.
“Yes, it's a year we have seen Suffolk being the safest in England but our task is to maintain that.
“We now will have, by the beginning of the next financial year, the highest number of police officers ever since the force came into existence. That should help us continue to remain safe and a lot of work going on will improve things.”
The force has identified areas it will address as part of the fight against crime this includes using the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 to boost police powers in dealing with unruly youngsters.
The force plans to increase the use of CCTV as part of this, including mobile cameras for use in police vehicles.
It also intends to increase police visibility through foot patrols, mobile police stations, community support officers and local surgeries.