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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Robbery, violence & burglary all up

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Latest crime figures show crime overall stable but significant rises in burglaries, robberies, violent offences and vehicle thefts.

2017 crime figures published

Yesterday (26 April 2018), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the latest crime figures for England and Wales which cover the year ending December 2017.

I summarise the changes in the key categories of offences below, but first lead statistician, Mark Bangs, describes the main trends in the two quotes below:

Today’s figures show that, for most types of offence, the picture of crime has been fairly stable, with levels much lower than the peak seen in the mid-1990s. Eight in ten adults had not experienced any of the crimes asked about in our survey in the latest year.

Mark Bangs

However, we have seen an increase in the relatively rare, but "high-harm" violent offences such as homicide, knife crime and gun crime, a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years. We have also seen evidence that increases in some types of theft have continued, in particular vehicle-related theft and burglary.

Mark Bangs

Burglary

A 9% increase in police recorded offences (to 438,971).

Burglary offences are thought to be relatively well reported by the public and relatively well recorded by the police and so the increase in police recorded burglary is likely to reflect a genuine increase. There was no change in burglary measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), but if the increase continues, statisticians would expect this to show up in the survey in due course.

Robbery

A 33% increase in police recorded offences (to 74,130).

Recording improvements are likely to have contributed to this rise, but the impact is thought to be less pronounced than for other crime types. Therefore, the increase may also reflect an element of a real change in these crimes. The CSEW does not provide a robust measure of short-term trends in robbery as it is a relatively low-volume crime.

 

Violent crime

  • No change in overall violent offences estimated by the CSEW (1,245,000).
  • 22% increase in police recorded knife or sharp instrument offences (to 39,598 offences).
  • 11% increase in police recorded firearms offences (to 6,604 offences).

The CSEW provides the better measure of trends in overall violent crime, covering the more common but less harmful offences. Police recorded crime provides a better measure of the more harmful but less common violent offences that are not well measured by the survey because of their relatively low volume. These offences are thought to be relatively well recorded by the police.

Vehicle related theft

17% increase in offences estimated by the CSEW (to 929,000).

A 16% increase was also seen in vehicle offences recorded by the police (to 452,683), continuing the rising trend seen over the last two years. Vehicle offences are thought to be relatively well reported by the public and well recorded by the police.

Computer offences

28% decrease in offences estimated by the CSEW (to 1,374,000).

Falls in computer misuse crimes were the main driver of the overall decrease in crime estimated by the CSEW. Reports to Action Fraud show an increase in computer misuse offences, but these data cannot be compared with the CSEW estimates as they reflect only a small fraction of all computer misuse and include offences against businesses.

 

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