`

Police respond as figures show South Tyneside crime is rising

Northumbria Police say more incidents are being classed as crimes.
Northumbria Police say more incidents are being classed as crimes.

Crime in South Tyneside jumped more than a fifth in the past year with a rise in sex attacks, thefts and criminal damage, new figures show.

There were 15,133 reported offences - up 20.6 per cent on the 12,543 over the previous 12 months.

Sexual crime saw the biggest rise, leaping 42 per cent - from 329 to 466 offences - and police also dealt with 1,629 stalking or harassment cases.

Thefts rose 14 per cent, while criminal damage, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, went from 2,314 to 2,376 incidents.

The figures, from the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), show a fall in some types of crime.

Drugs related offences dropped 13.1 per cent, and reports of gun and knife possession – which saw a sharp national rise – fell by 11, to 114.

Northumbria Police say the total number of incidents reported had remained the same but those classed as a crime had increased by 23 per cent.

It said the rise was due to factors including an improvement in recording processes and a greater confidence among victims of sexual and domestic abuse to report incidents.

Assistant Chief Constable Ged Noble said: “There can be no doubt that we face significant challenges in terms of funding and understanding new emerging threats, and it is important to acknowledge that we have seen an actual increase in some crime types.

“We remain as committed as ever to tackling those types of offences to ensure the public feel safe and perpetrators are brought to justice.”

“Today’s announcement shows that our message is getting through – if you are the victim of a crime, report it. Northumbria Police will do everything they can to support you.”

The ONS also reported 538 residential burglaries, which it says cannot be compared to previous years due to how they are categorised.

Violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, also dropped.

However, the ONS warns that improvements in police recording in these crimes makes annual comparisons difficult.

The figures, for April 2017 to March, also show there was one homicide, murder or manslaughter, and one case of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Overall, the South Tyneside rate was 101 crimes per 1,000 residents, higher than the England and Wales average of 82.

The ONS urges caution in interpreting some of its figures, due to them being based on only crimes reported.

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

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