NEW crime statistics released show that overall recorded crime in Wiltshire has almost plateaued.
Between September 2016 and September 2017, Wiltshire Police recorded 40,273 crimes – an increase of 1% compared to a national increase of 15%.
Wiltshire and North Yorkshire were the only forces in England and Wales to record such a small increase (1%) – all other forces saw a larger percentage increase in recorded crime.
“Nationally, we recorded the largest decrease in the number of public order (down 14%), criminal damage (down 46%) and robbery offences (down 40%) compared to the same period last year,” said a force spokesman.
“Although the dramatic improvement in the quality of crime recording has impacted on the results, there are still increases in burglary and vehicle crime.
Tackling burglary is now a force priority and we’ve also invested in crime prevention awareness concerning vehicle crime.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “I am reassured to see this small percentage increase in recorded crime in Wiltshire is well below the national trend of 15%.
“Wiltshire Police is consistently working to improve recording practices, and this has been reflected in today’s figures with the increase in recorded crime greatly slowing and the data stabilising.
“Although I continue to highlight the increases in crime as being reflective of recording practices, at no point am I, or the Chief Constable becoming complacent.
“The force has recognised the increase in domestic burglary and vehicle crime, and I am pleased to see the force is robustly responding to the concerns that I and the wider community have about these crimes.
“I have challenged the Chief Constable and his team frequently on burglary as this increase is not acceptable, and while detection rates are increasing more improvements need to be made.
“The force has responded well and since these statistics were collected in September there has been a substantial number of arrests made and this appears to have reduced current burglary numbers.”
The figures for domestic burglary rose by 69% compared to the same period last year (1,353 actual incidents in 2016 compared to 2,314 in 2017 – this means about three people in every 1,000 in Wiltshire were burgled which is lower than the national average of about four in every 1,000).
“The rise is primarily down to how we record break-ins; since April 2017 the way burglary is recorded has changed nationally and new categories are not directly comparable to the previous ones i.e. shed break-ins are now classed as residential burglaries (home/property break-ins), whereas before they were categorised as non-dwelling (non-home/property break-ins),” said the Wiltshire Police spokesman.
“However, we are being pro-active when it comes to dealing with these crimes. Over the past 12 months we’ve been developing a burglary improvement plan which now forms the basis for all burglary investigations.
“Part of this has involved holding a series of public drop-in sessions across the county to take on board the concerns of people – our communities who are a vital resource in shaping our response to this type of crime.
“The ONS figures also show an increase of 33% in theft from vehicles (2,847 in 2016 compared to 3,801 in 2017) – our analysis suggests that the majority of these incidents are from vehicles which are insecure or have valuables on display.
“Officers continue to run a number of crime prevention campaigns urging motorists to lock their vehicles and keep belongings out of sight.”
Detective Superintendent Craig Holden said: “Although our rate of crime has drastically slowed we as a force are not complacent and remain focused when it comes to tackling all crime.
“As a force we are constantly changing our processes and are pro-actively putting into practice the recommendations made. A good example of this is the introduction of the Community Tasking Team (CTT) last year; one of their main priorities is to improve outcomes for dwelling burglary, including the robust targeting of repeat offenders. This response has demonstrated a significant improvement in outcomes in the last few months.
“The local community remain a vital resource for us in tackling burglary. We have been and will continue to attend community consultations, as these give us better engagement with the public and a better chance of catching the offenders.”