Sharp rise in reported crime in South Tyneside, police figures show

Latest police crime figures.
Latest police crime figures.

Crime in South Tyneside has increased by more than a fifth, according to the latest police recorded figures.

There were 15,133 reported offences between April 2017 and March 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

That’s up by 20.6% on the previous year, when 12,543 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 101 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, above 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% increase in offences with knives or sharp objects and a 12% rise in homicides – murders and manslaughters – excluding charges from the Hillsborough disaster and terror attacks.

Despite nationally rising, gun and knife possession offences in South Tyneside have dropped by 11, to 114 incidents.

There were 538 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 has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter. There was one case of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, has increased by 14%. Drugs related offences dropped by 13.1%.

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 2,314 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,376 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has dropped, however it is tough to judge as police recording in this area has improved over the last couple of years.

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 South Tyneside there were 466 incidents recorded in 2017-18, a 42% rise on the previous year, when 329 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,629 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

Ché Donald, vice chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, commented: “These new figures are proof, as if we even needed it, that policing in the UK is on the critical list.”

Police and Fire Service Minister Nick Hurd said the ONS is clear “that the likelihood of being a victim remains low however, every violent crime is a significant concern and the Government is taking decisive action to tackle it”.

“We recognise that crime is changing and that police demand is becoming increasingly complex,” he continued.

“The statistics show that there has been a societal shift towards victims reporting ‘hidden’ crimes to the police and we welcome that more victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are feeling empowered to come forward.”

Mr Hurd added that the Serious Violence Strategy was helping turn youngsters away from gangs and violence.