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1996 BRITISH CRIME SURVEY

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The 1996 British Crime Survey, published today, shows the smallest rise in crime in England and Wales since the sur...
The 1996 British Crime Survey, published today, shows the smallest rise in crime in England and Wales since the survey was first carried out in 1981.

The survey reports that burglary and thefts of private vehicles fell for the first time.

It shows a two per cent rise between 1993 and 1995 in those crimes covered in both the survey and police figures - less than half the average increase of 5.2% per year shown by previous surveys.

The pattern of crime shown by the BCS reflects the pattern shown in the offences recorded by the police which have also been published today. Most offences which have gone down in the police figures have either stabilised or also fallen in the BCS.

Although violent crime has risen since 1981, violence by strangers has shown a much smaller increase than domestic violence and violence committed by people known to the victim.

Estimates for the survey are taken from a large random sample of people aged 16 and over who are asked about offences they have experienced in the previous year. It includes crimes which have not been reported to the police as well as ones which have.

The BCS estimates that in 1995 there were 19 million crimes of the type covered by the survey against individuals and their property.

Where offences can be directly compared to police figures the BCS estimated 12 million offences while the police recorded 2.8 million.

It also shows that there has been a slight fall in people's anxiety about crime since the last survey.

The BCS found: 40,000 fewer burglaries than in 1993, a fall of 5 per cent;

-- in just over four in 10 incidents the offender failed to gain entry;

-- most burglaries are committed when no one is at home;

-- good security helps keep burglars out; thefts of private vehicles fell to 499,000, a drop of eight per cent;

-- theft from motor vehicles fell by two per cent to 2.5 million;

-- a third of all BCS offences involved theft of, or theft from vehicles or damage to them;

-- taking account of the length of time cars are parked in different locations, the risk of theft from public car parks was 200 times higher than when cars were parked in garages at home;

-- offenders are finding cars better protected; violent crime increased by 17 per cent:

-- since 1981, the largest increase was in domestic violence which increased by 3.4 times. An increased willingness to talk to interviewers may explain part of the rise;

-- most incidents did not involve the use of weapons and serious injury is generally rare;

-- the lowest increase has been for stranger violence which rose by 12 per cent since 1981 ;

-- age is strongly related to the risk with young people facing higher risks of all types of violent crime; anxiety about crime dropped slightly:

-- fewer people assessed the chance of being burgled as high as they had done two years ago; and

-- there was a fall in the number of women reporting they felt 'very' or 'fairly' unsafe on the streets from 54 per cent in 1994 to 47 per cent in 1996.

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