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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Crimes and clearance rates fall
Person in custody monitored on CCTV - pic PSNI
Police said the number of crimes was down
Crime in Northern Ireland has fallen by nearly 2% over the last year, according to the latest police figures.

However, violent crime has increased as have what police call ordinary robberies.

Cases of blackmail have doubled and sexual assaults on minors are up by more than a third.

Just one in four offences were cleared, with the drop blamed on a higher evidential standard used for cases requiring no further action.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton said developing techniques and greater public support was helping police deal with crime.

"There has been a decrease of 1.7% in overall crime in 2006/07 compared with the previous year," he said.

"This means 2,050 fewer crimes committed. Since 2002/03 crime has fallen by 21,352 offences, a decrease of 15%."

DCC Paul Leighton
Paul Leighton said more racist crime was recorded

Mr Leighton said burglaries fell by 9.9%; thefts by 5.8%; and fraud and forgery offences by 12%.

Vehicle crimes were down by 8.8% and robberies showed an overall decrease of 9.7%.

A fifth more people were arrested for drug related offences and, though overall seizures dropped, the recovery of Class A narcotics rose by nearly 59%.

But despite less murders and attempted killings, there were significant increases in some hate crime areas.

Last year, 111 more racist incidents were recorded than the previous 12 months.

Faith/religion incidents also went up by nearly 95%, although homophobic and sectarian attacks fell.

Mr Leighton said there were areas of concern, pointing to an overall rise in violent crime, including a 5% increase in sexual assaults.

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