Gwent crime down, but violence increasing
4:40pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
THE number of violent crimes in Gwent without injury has gone up by half, while violence against the person is up by almost a quarter from last year, statistics have revealed.
But overall crime in Gwent is down five per cent, according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the second lowest drop in crime in Wales. Nationally across Wales crime dropped by seven per cent.
This compares to last year when Gwent Police recorded the largest fall in crime in England and Wales at 17 per cent compared with 2011.
In May the Argus reported claims by Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston that police in Gwent may not have been recording crimes properly in a bid to lower crime figures.
Mr Johnston said he was concerned officers were not classifying incidents correctly, which meant recorded crime statistics did not give a true picture of what is happening on the streets.
"I'm not saying that anyone is fiddling the books but it is the interpretation of the incident," he said.
This year public order offences were down 20 per cent in Gwent compared to last year, at 1,347 crimes reported, while drug offences were down 17 per cent, at 2,319 crimes.
Robbery was up by more than a third with 178 crimes reported, while 16,711 thefts were reported, down seven per cent on last year. Burglaries were down nine per cent, at 4,646, with 1,775 domestic burglaries (down 12 per cent) and 2,871 non-domestic burglaries (down seven per cent).
Violent crimes with injury, totalling 3,480 reported, represents a seven per cent hike on last year.
Across England and Wales, crime in the home is at its lowest level since surveys began 30 years ago, but reporting of sexual offences has increased by nine per cent.
In Gwent there were 34,595 crimes recorded from June 2012 to June 2013, including fraud offences.
The data for Gwent shows no change in the rate of homicide, with five recorded until June this year.
The number of sexual offences across the force area dropped by three per cent, to 504, bucking a national rise of nine per cent.
Vehicle offences had also dropped 11 per cent to 3,654 reported until June this year.
Crimes of theft from the person were recorded at 155, up three per cent, while 440 bicycle thefts represented an 11 per cent drop, and 3,310 shoplifting incidents represented a three per cent drop.
All other theft offences, totalling 4,506 in Gwent, were down four per cent, while 6,374 incidents of criminal damage and arson meant a nine per cent fall on last year.
With 176 incidents involving possession of a weapon, this represents a 25 per cent fall from last year.
In Gwent 267 fraud crimes were reported, down 60 per cent on last year, while nationally fraud appears to have increased by 21 per cent because of the way it is now recorded.
Figures positive but judge us on service, says boss
GWENT Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston commented: “While the crime statistics are an important indicator, as I’ve said previously, what’s important to me is the service Gwent Police provides the people of Gwent. I want Gwent Police to be judged on this service, not on numbers alone.
“That said, overall the figures released today by the Home Office make for positive reading. The continued decrease in burglary is welcome, as is the reduction in the number of incidents of vehicle crime and criminal damage. However, there are a number of categories where we have seen notable increases in crime, including violence and robbery.
“On behalf of Gwent residents, and especially victims of crime, I will continue to push the chief officer team to do all they can, along with our partners, to prevent crimes happening in the first place, and where they do occur, to ensure that victims are provided with a service appropriate to their needs.”
Temporary Chief Constable Jeff Farrar commented: “The figures are encouraging in many aspects. Every Gwent resident has the right to feel safe, and be safe.”
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