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CRIME STABLE IN ENGLAND & WALES

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Overall crime and violent crime in England and Wales remain stable according to the latest crime figures published ...
Overall crime and violent crime in England and Wales remain stable according to the latest crime figures published today.

According to the British Crime Survey (BCS) - which is generally accepted as the most authoritative and reliable indicator of crime trends - data for the 12 months to December 2005 shows that the risk of being a victim of crime (23 per cent) remains at the lowest level since 1981.

Statistics from the BCS 12 months to December 2005 show:

* overall crime stable

* all personal crime stable

* violent crime stable

* domestic burglary down eleven per cent

* vehicle thefts down nine per cent

* all household crime stable

Police recorded crime figures from October to December 2005 compared with the same period the previous year show:

* total recorded crime stable

* overall violent crime up one per cent

* overall property crime down two per cent

* violence against the person up one per cent

* sexual offences up three per cent

* robbery up six per cent

* domestic burglary down four per cent

* vehicle thefts stable

* fraud and forgery down 22 per cent

* drug offences up 21 per cent

* other offences up 25 per cent

Home secretary Charles Clarke said:

'I welcome the fact that the latest crime statistics show that the risk of being a victim of crime remains at the lowest level since 1981 and that overall crime remains stable. I am also encouraged by the fact that violent crime is stabilising, but there is still too much violent crime. While it is true that nearly half of all violent offences involve no injury, they may still be serious and traumatic for the victim.

'That is why we are committed to continuing the progress we have made in recent years in driving down violent crime, including robbery. This rise in recorded offences of robbery needs to be put in context as the figures are still well below those for 2001/02, before the street crime initiative, when robbery was at its height.

'Much of the work we are doing is aimed at tackling not just crime itself, but also perceptions of crime. Anti-social behaviour issues are clearly matters of increasing concern for many people in England and Wales, but as we roll out the measures introduced in the Respect action plan, I am confident that more people will begin to feel safer.'

Notes

1. Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to December 2005 is published today. Copies are available online at at http:www.homeoffice.gov.uk

2. 'Crime in England and Wales: 2004/5' was published on 21 July 2005. Copies are available online at http:www.homeoffice.gov.uk

3. 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. The NCRS has led to increases in some of the figures as police are now recording crimes that, although taking place, were not previously recorded. The new system is now more accurate and consistent, recording a crime when a victim reports it. The NCRS has been particularly effective at picking up low-level thuggery and yobbish behaviour that involve no serious physical injury to the victim are listed as 'other wounding', 'common assault'

and 'harassment', and it is these offences, accounting for two thirds of all violent crime, that are driving the increases in police recorded violent crime.

4. BCS estimates are based on a sample of the population of approximately 45,000 respondents aged 16 or over each year. The BCS sample may produce estimates that differ from the figures that would have been obtained if the whole population had been interviewed.

Because of this difference changes in estimates between one period and another may occur by chance. We are able to measure whether such changes are likely to be real or due to random variation using standard statistical tests. If changes are unlikely to be real we describe trends as stable.

5. In January 2006, the home secretary announced a major cross-party review of how crime statistics are compiled and published, to increase public understanding of crime trends.

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