CRIME in Northamptonshire fell by 5.9 per cent during 2008/09, the fifth successive year that crime has come down in the county.
During the last year, between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, offences dropped from 63,567 to 59,904 – 3,753 fewer than in the previous year.
This year there were 15,000 fewer victims of crime in Northamptonshire than there were in 2003/04, a decrease of 19 per cent.
Chief Constable Peter Maddison said: “Northamptonshire Police is committed to delivering the best possible quality of policing services to the people of this county and I am very proud of my police officers and staff, who have worked tirelessly with partner agencies to ensure that we have brought crime in the county down for the fifth year in a row.
“It is very encouraging to see nearly 4,000 fewer victims of crime compared to last year. But be in no doubt, our endeavours will continue with vigour as we work to reduce crime further and build public confidence, through listening to our communities and responding to their needs.
“My staff are determined to tackle the increases of domestic burglary and robbery we have seen in the north of the county, and I am particularly pleased to see the positive results already coming through in combating these peaks.
“Initiatives such as Smartwater and Operation Tiger have made significant impacts on burglary offences and vehicle crime throughout Northamptonshire, and we will be keeping the pressure on criminals throughout 2009.
“The challenges facing us in the longer term are also significant. As a region we have to deal with one of the fastest rates of population growth in the country, with all the demands for policing and public service that this necessitates.
“I and my colleagues in the local authorities and NHS continue to keep this on the government’s agenda, to ensure the county is adequately funded to deliver the service we would all wish to.”
The headline figures are as follows:-
Violent crime – DOWN 8.7 per cent
Commercial burglary – DOWN 8.7 per cent
Vehicle crime – DOWN 4 per cent
Theft and handling – DOWN 8.9 per cent
Criminal damage – DOWN 7.8 per cent
Sexual offences – UP 8.2 per cent
House burglary – UP 7.1 per cent
Deirdre Newham, the Chair of the Police Authority, commented: “It is heartening to see that crime is down again for the fifth consecutive year.
“At the Police Authority, we are acutely aware that the concerns of members of the public by and large centre around criminal damage, juvenile nuisance and anti-social behaviour, so the fall in criminal damage is especially welcome.
“Hopefully the reduction in crime will in turn lead to an increase in public confidence in the Force.
“The Authority has made a commitment to providing the Force with 40 additional front-line officers and hopefully this will re-enforce the good work that is being done to tackle criminal activity in this county.”
In the south and west of the county, crime has fallen by 9.4 per cent over the last year.
This equates to 3,375 fewer victims of crime in the Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire areas.
Significant reductions have been recorded in violence offences (12.2 per cent), commercial burglaries (17.4 per cent), theft from motor vehicles (11.5 per cent), theft of motor vehicles (14.5 per cent), vehicle interference (22 per cent), theft and handling (10.8 per cent) and criminal damage (10 per cent).
But increases have been recorded in sexual offences (9.5 per cent) and fraud and forgery (21.1 per cent).
Chief Superintendent Paul Phillips, Area Commander for Northamptonshire West, said: “I am really pleased with the crime reduction on this side of the county, with nearly 3,500 fewer victims of crime this year than last.
“The significant results are in relation to vehicle crime, with more than a 12 per cent reduction in vehicle crime in Daventry, Northampton and South Northants.
“We’ve continued to reduce street robbery offences. There were only a small number anyway, but we’ve seen a six per cent reduction in Northampton town, which amounts to 32 fewer victims.
“And violent crime has fallen by 10 per cent thanks to lots of partnership work around the night economy and initiatives focused on domestic abuse.
“Anti-social behaviour has continued to fall this year with more than 4,000 fewer incidents on this side of the county.
“A great deal of the credit for this goes to the Safer Community Teams who have provided greater visibility, reassurance and local knowledge.
“Our focus in the new policing year will be to continue to increase public confidence in the police service, continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour with our partners, and to seek feedback from the public as to what is important to them for us to work on and to respond to their needs.”