Crime in Suffolk ‘at a 10-year low’

CRIME across Suffolk is at a 10-year low, according to figures published today.

Overall, the number of reported crimes has dropped for the fifth year in a row. But the number of robberies has increased by 23 per cent in a shift that the police say could be linked to the recession.

The Home Office figures show that between last April and March this year, 46,357 crimes were recorded in Suffolk – down 0.2 per cent compared on the previous 12 months and 4,135 fewer crimes than in 2001/02.

Drug-related offences have plummeted by 17 per cent and criminal damage has dropped by five per cent.

But 'acquisitive crimes' including robbery, house burglaries and vehicle crime have all risen.

Deputy Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer welcomed the overall drop in crime. She said: 'This success is down to the officers and the staff working at the front line and the people who support them. It's a testament to their hard work and tenacity over the past year and that commitment and hard work will continue.

'We have seen an increase in what we would call personal robberies – largely people on their own late at night, perhaps walking home, and it's personal items like iPods and phones that are being stolen – and an increase in robberies on business premises.

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'Any robbery is worrying for us because robberies by their very nature mean there has been an element of violence attached. These are hugely traumatic crimes and the after-effects are quite bad.'

She added: 'We don't know whether the recession is to blame but we do tend to see patterns in crime. We had a decrease in burglaries for many years and then in the past year, it has gone up, so it may well be linked to the economic climate. Some of it is just opportunistic. They will see windows or doors open and just try their luck, especially in the nice weather when it's easy for us to go out and forget to lock up.'

Ms Cheer called on the public to remain vigilant by locking their houses and cars especially over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekends to minimise the risk from opportunistic thieves.

The figures show public order offences have also dropped by 12 per cent, which officers say is down to the work being done in the county's town centres on Friday and Saturday nights.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Marshall said: 'We have faced a great many challenges this year, not least the financial implications of the spending review, so it is extremely pleasing that crime has decreased again this year. 'This further reflects the fact that not only is Suffolk a safe county but it is one of the most efficient forces in the country. There are still many areas we need to focus on. This year has seen a large increase in robberies in Suffolk and this is something we have been keen to address.

'We also recognised a worrying trend in serious acquisitive crime and have worked hard to put this right.'