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CRIME CONTINUES TO FALL

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Crime in England and Wales has fallen by five per cent according to ...
Crime in England and Wales has fallen by five per cent according to

the British Crime Survey (BCS), the most authoritative and reliable

indicator of crime trends. Police recorded crime, compared to the

same quarter last year, for the three months to June 2003, shows

crime remains stable.

The quarterly update, the first to be published without adjustments

to take account of the impact of the national crime recording

standard, shows that police recorded burglary, robbery and vehicle

crime, have all fallen significantly. Both the risk of being a victim

of crime and the risk of being burgled remain at their lowest levels

in more than 20 years.

Violent crime is stable, there has been no increase in victims

reporting violent crime to the BCS - the figures show a five per cent

reduction in violent crime. But there has been an increase in the

reporting and recording of violent crimes which have risen by nine

per cent. Much of the increase in recorded violent crime is due to

better reporting and recording of low level thuggery and more

willingness by victims to report sexual assaults.

Tough government action to tackle anti-social behaviour further was

announced this week and will improve everyday life in the areas worst

affected by low level crime and disorder. The Alcohol Harm Reduction

Strategy will look at ways to cut city centre violence; a new

programme to reduce drug related crime began in April and is starting

to take effect; and initiatives to tackle gun crime are already

having an impact.

Key figures are:

Total crime: overall crime, as recorded by the BCS, continues to fall

while, police recorded crime has remained stable.

- BCS fall of five per cent.

- Police recorded crime unchanged.

Domestic burglary: continues to fall.

- BCS fall of two per cent.

- Police recorded crime fall of four per cent.

- Chance of being burgled at its lowest in 20 years.

Robbery: there continues to be a significant, sustained fall in

robbery largely due to the street crime initiative.

- Police recorded crime fall of seven per cent.

Violent crime: overall stable. Serious violence, less serious

violence and sexual offences have increased. This can partly be

accounted for by continuing effects of recording changes and a

greater willingness of victims to come forward.

- BCS fall of five per cent.

- Police recorded crime increase of nine per cent.

Much of what is recorded as violent crime, such as common assault

that amounts to pushing and shoving, involves little or no physical

injury to the victim.

Vehicle crime: thefts of and from a vehicle continue to fall.

- BCS fall of seven per cent.

- Police recorded crime fall of six per cent.

Victimisation rate:

- The British Crime Survey shows the risk of being a victim of crime

remains historically low at 26.9 per cent - around the same level

as 1981 and one-third lower than the risk in 1995 (40 per cent).

Provisional data on the latest trends in gun crime, also published

today, show that the total number of firearm offences in 2002/03

(excluding offences involving air weapons) increased by three per

cent. This compares to a 35 per cent increase in 2001/02. The update

shows firearm offences have been falling since November last year.

Final figures for 2002/3 will be published in January.

Around 17 per cent of offences using firearms resulted in physical

harm, the majority of which involved only minor injury. Last year

there were 80 fatal incidents compared to 95 the year before - a

reduction of around one sixth.

Home Office minister Hazel Blears said:

'Crime overall is continuing to fall and offences such as burglary,

robbery and vehicle crime, crimes which concern people the most, are

showing significant falls. Measures to combat anti-social behaviour,

street crime and schemes to cut drug-related crime are making an

impact and contri buting to keeping these crimes at a low level.

'The increase in serious violence is an area of concern and I'm

encouraged by more intensive policing and the impact of new measures

to tackle gun crime. The risk of a fatal shooting in England and

Wales is still one of the lowest in the world but every crime

involving a firearm is a serious concern and every life lost to gun

crime is a terrible tragedy. We are working hard to encourage

domestic violence victims and victims of sexual offences to report

every single crime and we would expect to see these figures increase.

'The BCS reports levels of worry about crime are going down. People

are starting to feel safer and get the message that the chance of

being a victim of crime is at its lowest in 20 years.

'But in order to make a difference people need to see the difference.

That is why we have more police officers on our streets than ever

before - 136,386 - and an additional 1,933 Community Support

Officers. But we are not complacent, and we are not stopping there.

We are in the process of reforming the criminal justice system across

the board, bringing a greater number of criminals to justice with the

aim of re-balancing the system. We want individuals, communities and

society to be safer and to feel safer.'

NOTES

1. 'Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly update to June 2003' is

published today. Copies can be be read here.

2. The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced

formally in all police forces in April 2002 and informally in a

number of forces prior to this.

3. Increases in the percentage of incidents of violent crime reported

to the police were included in 'Crime in England and Wales 2002-3'

published on July 17 2003. Table 3.06 shows that the percentage of

common assaults reported to the BCS that were reported to the police

increased from 25.8 per c ent to 34.1 per cent. The percentage of

violent crimes reported to the BCS that were reported to the police

increased from 35.4 per cent to 40.6 per cent. This compares with the

percentage of overall crime reported to the BCS that was reported to

the police increasing from 39.6 per cent 40.4 per cent.

4. The Criminal Justice Interventions Programme (supported by £447

million Government funding) breaks the link between drugs and crime

by targeting drug using offenders at all stages in the criminal

justice system and getting them into treatment. By treating their

addiction which fuels their offending, we can get offenders away from

a life of crime and thereby reducing acquisitive crimes such as

burglary, theft and vehicle crime.

5. The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill was published on 27 March 2003.

The Anti Social Behaviour Action Plan was

published on 14 October 2003.

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