Crime figures drop

By Sam Dale

Crime fell by seven per cent in 2009 compared to the previous year, new figures reveal today.

The British Crime Survey (BCS) figures show nearly all main categories of crime falling with 21% fewer muggings and less vandalism and burglary.

But sexual offences rose by two per cent and there was a technical rise in violent crime of one per cent but it has been described as insignificant by officials who draw up the statistics.

Crime figures are calculated through both actual offences recorded by the police and a survey of 45,000 people by the BCS, whether it is reported or not.

Burglary fell by 12%, drug offences down four per cent and violence dropped by 11% with gun crime falling by three per cent although it only contributes less than one hundredth of all crimes.

Overall 4.4 million crimes were recorded last year, down from 4.8 million in 2008.

Chief Constable Keith Bristow, lead spokesman for the association of chief police officers, said it showed community safety partnerships worked.

“These overall results are positive and show a strong indication of the dedication of our workforce to keep the public safe.

“We continue also to work towards helping people feel safer and more confident in the neighbourhoods where they live, through a visible and responsive police service that tackles the challenge that matters to people.”

The figures reveal the risk of being a victim of crime remains historically low at 22% with police approval ratings rising three points to 56%.

People who believe they are suffering from a ‘high-level’ of anti-social behaviour has fallen to its lowest ever levels of 15%, down two points on last year.

There were, in effect, fewer complaints for abandoned cars, drunkenness and rowdiness, drug dealing and gangs of teenagers but noisy neighbour complaints rose slightly.

Home secretary Allan Johnson said: “Today’s figures show that crime has fallen.

“If we are going to have an honest debate on crime then we need Chris Grayling to finally accept what repeated surveys all confirm: that crime has fallen and is still falling.

“Labour has invested in record numbers of police, with neighbourhood policing teams in every area committed to spending 80% of time on the beat or visible in their community. We are committed to using CCTV and DNA technology to catch criminals and ensured longer prison sentences for those convicted of the most serious offences.”