A new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that violent crime has risen 24% in England and Wales. Can we really trust the official crime statistics and are the streets safe to walk on?
Crime rates have been falling steadily throughout the UK for a number of years now but every so often there are scary headlines suggesting the streets of England and Wales are crime-ridden hell holes.
Official crime statistics based on recorded crime can sometimes be dubious to say the least. As new Police policies and crime recording procedures come into effect it can have a huge impact on the ‘numbers’.
The new figures show a 9% rise in knife crime, a 7% rise in gun crime, a 14% increase in the number of reported rapes and other sexual offences and a 20% increase in the number of murders. The increase in murders will have been affected by the decision to include the deaths of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
In recent years there has been a huge push from the Police top-brass to record all reports of a crime regardless of initial evidence at the time of reporting. This has put a stop to incidents being dealt with by Police in a less formal manner.
These improved crime recording practices will have pushed up all recorded crime across the board.
However, this doesn’t mean that the sole reason for the upward trend in violent crime is down to Police procedure. Speaking to the Guardian, John Flatley of the ONS said, “The latest figures present a complex picture, with the crime survey for England and Wales estimating similar levels of violent crime to that seen in recent years, but the number of offences recorded by the police increasing”.
However, Flatley continued by stating that the figures do include “a small but genuine increase in some categories of violent crime”. As Police were recording gun crime and knife crime on almost every occasion these types of crime would remain largely unaffected by the Policy changes.
To conclude, it is safe to walk to your local shop for a pint of milk but there may be some worrying signs in relation to a substantial and genuine increase in both gun crime (5,244) and knife crime (29,306) across England and Wales.
If you are concerned about crime in your area please feel free to get in touch and we can offer advice on ways to improve your home security.