Crime in England and Wales fell by 9% in 2002, according to the British Crime Survey.
The government launched a plan to cut street crime last year
The survey, which measures people's experience of crime, rather than just crimes reported to the police, also found an 11% fall in burglary, a slight fall in violent crime and a 17% fall in vehicle theft.
Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth said: "These figures show government measures to reduce crime are working.
"Crime is continuing a downward trend and the risk of being a victim remains at its lowest level for 20 years."
However, the survey also revealed that over 70% of people feel that crime has risen in the past two years despite overall offences having fallen.
A third of people also said they felt teenagers hanging around on street corners was a very or fairly big problem.
Latest British Crime Survey
All figures are in 000s and compare to crimes in 2000
Burglary: 948 -11%
Vehicle thefts: 2,306 -17%
All household crime: 7,379 -13%
Violence against person: 2,708 -2%
All personal crime: 4,599 -3%
All crime: 11,978 -9%
Source: Home Office/ BMRB
Sample: 37,779 adults over 16 in England and Wales
Figures released by the Home Office on Friday also show a fall in recorded crime of 7% in the last three months of 2002, compared with the same period in 2001.
Violence against the person was up by 1%, but robbery was down 23%.
The figures have been adjusted to take into account a new way of recording crime which police began using in April 2002.
It was estimated by the government that this would have the effect of increasing recorded crime by 15-20%, so the Home Office has adjusted its statistics accordingly.
The Home Office researchers who issued Friday's update - comprising the quarterly recorded crime figures and the British Crime Survey (BCS) results - said the "general picture is one of falls [in overall crime] resuming in the second half of 2002".
The report admits that the 2% drop in violent crime in the BCS results is not "statistically significant".
But the authors say the risk of being a victim of violent crime appears to have levelled off after falling in the late 1990s.
In the quarterly recorded crime figures, the report highlights robbery as showing "substantial falls" which it notes come after the government's Street Crime Initiative of last Spring.
Burglary has fallen for much of the 1990s but only after peaking sharply in about 1993. The latest figures suggest it is now levelling off, the report says.
Overall crime fell by 9% compared to 2000 figures
When asked whether they thought crime had risen or fallen over the previous two years, 36% of people said it had increased "a lot" and a further 35% said it had increased "a little".
This is a steep increase on the 2000 figures of 25% and 31% respectively.
The British Crime Survey asked 37,779 adults over the age of 16 living in England and Wales of their experiences of crime over the past 12 months.
The interviews were carried out between January to December 2002 and compare to the survey published in 2001 which detailed crimes in 2000.