People caught with knives or guns up by almost a third in South Tyneside

The number of weapon crimes in South Tyneside is on the increase
The number of weapon crimes in South Tyneside is on the increase

The number of people caught with knives or guns in South Tyneside has increased by almost a third, according to new police recorded crime statistics.

There were 138 weapons possession offences in the 12 months to September last year, according to Office for National Statistics data - which include hand guns, knives and corrosive acid.

Superintendent Barrie Joisce

Superintendent Barrie Joisce

The South Tyneside figure is up 29% on the previous year, when 107 incidents were recorded.

The statistics are based on reported crimes and Northumbria Police say they are an indication of the confidence people have in reporting crimes in the area.

Overall, recorded crime in South Tyneside increased in the year to September to 16,040 up by 17% on 2016-17.

That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in South Tyneside, well above average for England and Wales.

There were 558 residential burglaries reported in the borough.

Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figure cannot be compared with other years.

There were no murders or manslaughters but four cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Criminal damage in South Tyneside, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 2,248 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,523 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could be due to improved police recording.

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

In South Tyneside, there were 501 incidents recorded between October 2017 and September 2018, a 27% rise on the previous year, when 394 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,789 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “As a force, and locally within South Tyneside, we remain committed to cutting crime and protecting the communities we serve.

“Our officers work hard every day to investigate crimes and catch criminals who use guns and knives. We will continue to proactively target offenders and bring them to justice.

“However, numbers don’t ever tell the whole story and I would ask that the public don’t just look at the overall increase in recorded crime.

“Recorded crime has been rising for a number of years now but that does not mean that our region is less safe than it has been in the past.

“What these figures do show is that residents in our Force area are the least likely in the entire country to be victims of household crime, including burglary.

“These figures also highlight the continued confidence the public have in contacting police to report crimes. There have also been reductions in violent incidents and the figures show we rank highly in public confidence.

“That is a result of a lot of hard work by police officers and staff who dedicate themselves to keeping people safe and I hope that offers reassurance to the communities we serve.”