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New statistics show rise in crime in Lancaster

Crime is on the rise in Lancaster.
Crime is on the rise in Lancaster.
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Crime has increased year-on-year in Lancaster, according to the latest police recorded figures.

There were 11,483 reported offences between April 2017 and March 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

That’s up by 17.7 per cent on the previous year, when 9,760 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 81 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017/18, slightly below the England and Wales average of 82.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However, the ONS believes crimes such as burglary and car theft, which are generally well reported and recorded, have genuinely increased.

Caroline Youell, from the ONS, said: “Most people don’t experience crime. The figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types.

“It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.

“We have seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.

“There have been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years. However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.”

Across England and Wales there was a 16 per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects and a 12 per cent rise in homicides – murders and manslaughters – excluding charges from the Hillsborough disaster and terror attacks.

Gun and knife possession offences in Lancaster rose by one to 45 incidents.

There were 753 residential burglaries reported in 2017/18. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figures cannot be compared with other years.

There have been no homicides, a murder or manslaughter. There were three cases of death or injury by dangerous driving. Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, has increased by eight per cent. Drugs related offences rose by 9.5 per cent.

According to the ONS police numbers are at their lowest level since 1996, when comparable records began, and nearly half of investigations into recorded crimes are closed without a suspect being identified.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “We take rises in crime very seriously. Police forces are targeting crime hotspots, using powers of stop and search and active engagement with communities to prevent violence.

“The causes and drivers of rising violence and related crimes are complex, and so the solutions must focus on early intervention and involve a range of action from government, education, health, social services, housing and victim services.

“To bring down robbery and burglary police target prolific offenders and links to organised crime but we also need the public to help by taking simple crime prevention measures.”

Criminal damage, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 1,722 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,060 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could just be due to improved police recording as opposed to an increase in incidents.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Lancaster there were 368 incidents recorded in 2017-18, a 31 per cent rise on the previous year, when 282 crimes were reported.

There were also 784 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.