CRIME has risen in South Tyneside for the first time in six years.
Latest police figures reveal overall crime across the borough increased by 11 per cent from 6,476 crimes to 7,214.
The figures – which cover the period from April 2013 to March 2014 – showed:
* Violent crime UP by 28 per cent
* Sexual offences UP by 41 per cent
* Burglaries UP by 10 per cent
* Shoplifting UP by 26 per cent
* Criminal Damage UP by seven per cent
But there was better news in other areas, with:
* Vehicle crime DOWN by 14 per cent
* Drug crime DOWN by 17 per cent.
* Antisocial behaviour DOWN by 13 per cent
Chief Superintendent of South Tyneside Area Command, Ian Dawes said: “Overall crime has fallen in South Tyneside for the past six years and while this year it has risen, it is still less than what it was only a few years ago.”
“In terms of the rise in violent crime – this area also includes domestic violence of which we have seen an increase in the number of calls we are receiving.
“Domestic violence is known as the hidden crime.
“We see the rise in the number of people contacting us as a positive. It means people are feeling more confident in us, the police, to report the violence happening in the home and in the agencies set up to support them.”
In the past year, the number of robbery offences fell from 44 to 30 – a 32 per cent reduction, with the detection rate standing at 50 per cent.
Chief Supt Dawes said that while the number of burglary offences has risen, officers were still visiting homes where properties had been left insecure. The detection rate for burglaries is 26.8 per cent.
“The last time we looked at the figures we found about 40-50 per cent of burglaries reported to us were to homes which had been left insecure whether that’s doors unlocked or windows open,” said Mr Dawes.
“There has been a lot of work by officers to encourage people to lock their doors and to encourage people to report any suspicious behaviour happening in their street to police.”
Despite crime rising in many areas, a recent survey showed 96 per cent of people were satisfied with the treatment they received from police, while 98 per cent of people questioned feel safe living in their neighbourhoods.
Chief Supt Dawes said: “Police have always been targeting the right people and work extremely hard to ensure South Tyneside continues to be a safe place, but we can always do better.
“We do need the help of the community to keep giving us information, which enables us to take action against those who are breaking the law, we need information on people who seem to be living beyond their means, people selling things on the streets or in pubs – items they believe to be stolen.
“The police continue to have a strong working relationship with our strategic partners including South Tyneside Council. By working together and with the help of the community, we can make a difference.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Keeping people safe is a top priority for us and one that is shared by South Tyneside’s Community Safety Partnership.
“Violent crime includes incidents of domestic violence and abuse. We do a lot of valuable work to tackle domestic violence and a big part of this is helping victims find the confidence to report incidents, so that they can get the help and support they need to break the cycle.
“We also support high-profile awareness – raising campaigns such as the annual White Ribbon Day.
“Our Community Safety Team also does a great deal of work aimed at preventing burglaries.
“This includes giving advice and information about how people can protect their property through a range of security measures.
“We will continue to work with the police and other partners to drive down crime. It is also important to remember that we can all do our bit by taking simple steps to prevent crimes like burglary.”