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Wednesday, February 10, 1999 Published at 10:29 GMT


£50bn cost of crime

Crime is down but not many have noticed

Crime is costing the UK nearly £50bn a year while fear of beoming a victim affects 50% of the population.

The cost of crime, in a government report, includes police investigations, prisons, courts and repairs to damage.

Bob Chiltern, Audit Office: Councils must take action
The report says fewer than one person in 10 is aware of the fact that crime fell by 14% between 1995 and 1997.

For over half the population, fear of crime is still destroying quality of life, placing some people effectively under curfew in their own homes.

The people most afraid of crime included people already in the most vulnerable groups in society such as the disabled, those on low incomes and single parents.

Real concerns

The Audit Commission report also calls on police forces and councils around the country to work together to put effective solutions in place.

The commission says the research shows community safety is about more than tackling crime and not the job of the police alone.

And it warns many past initiatives to address "community safety" issues had been too piecemeal to have much effect and failed to address the real concerns of local residents.

Andrew Foster, controller of the Audit Commission, said: "Problems with vandalism, drug abuse or even noisy neighbours have a major effect on the quality of people's lives - and local people understand these problems better than anyone.

"To improve public safety, police forces and councils need to talk to local residents, identify problem areas and work together to focus effort on the right local solutions."

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