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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Crime soaring but Wales still safer
Police office
Violent crimes were down but robberies were up
New figures have shown that the number of robberies in Wales has soared by 16% - but the level of crime overall is lower than the UK average.

The area covered by South Wales Police saw the greatest increase in robberies, but cases across the UK shot up by 28%.

Paul Wood, Deputy Chief Constable, South Wales Police
"Wales is safer" : Paul Wood

There were 5% fewer instances of violent crime in Wales, and the figures for burglary were the second lowest in Britain.

Some critics have suggested that the rise may, in part, be due to the fact that some forces have begun collating figures in a different way.

In Wales, three of the four forces have tried the new approach, but the only one which did not - Gwent - has seen a fall of 17 per cent in all crime.

Generally, crime levels have remained relatively static, but UK Home Secretary David Blunkett has vowed to make the "significant" robbery problem a "high priority".

Launch new window : Facts and figures
Crime figures by key offence and region

There were 5.52m crimes recorded by police in 2001/02 - an increase of 7%.

  • 82 criminal incidents in Wales per 1,000 people (104 in England).
  • Wales has the second-lowest domestic burglary rate (with Dyfed-Powys Police posting the lowest figures across both countries).
  • 159 burglaries with entry in Wales per 10,000 households (compared to 252 across England and Wales).
  • Incidents of vehicle crime are greater in Wales, with 1,186 per 10,000 homes (compared with the 1,159 average).
  • Car crime was most common in south Wales and least in north Wales.

  • But violent crimes were fewer in Wales, which suffered 619 (compared with the average of 679).
As the Home Office figures were released, Crime Reduction Director for Wales David Aherne : "Wales is a safe place to live. Crime in Wales is stable.

"The new police victim-based crime recording system does offer some distortion. Crime is low in Wales and remains at a lower level than the past.

"Nevertheless, there is still more to be done to reduce crime further and make our communities safer still."

Crime survey

But Peter Dunn of Victim Support said the rise in recorded UK robberies mirrored the experience of victims of crime coming to the charity.

"We are definitely seeing more referrals from violent offences in the street," he said.

"There are more people being mugged, particularly young people mugging other young people for their mobile phones."

Gwent Police has said the Home Office figures show that crime in the force area continues to fall and that their detection rates remain high.

Detection

Statistics show a 17% overall decrease in crime - a total of 46,938 crimes compared with 56,728 last year.

Gwent Police also boast a 55% detection rate - the second highest in the UK.

Violent crime has fallen by 34% - with 9,000 offences this year compared with 14,000 last.

South Wales Police have stressed that the perception of crime is far greater than the actual risk posed.

"Crime overall in Wales has stabilised," said Paul Wood, Deputy Chief Constable of South Wales Police.

Safety

"Wales is a much safer place to live, according to the figures, than England is."

In north Wales, violent crimes are up by 38%. But Deputy Chief Constable of North Wales Police, Bill Brereton said people should feel no less safe now than they did a year ago.

The UK Government has published recorded crime figures at the same time as the results of the 2.5m British Crime Survey (BCS), which asked 33,000 people about their experience of crime.

It found the chances of being a victim of crime were at about their lowest since the survey began in 1981.

Burglary was down 7% and thefts from and of vehicles were down 7%.

The average person had a one in 50 chance of having their home burgled last year.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Gail Foley
"The figures are certainly confusing"

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See also:

12 Jul 02 | UK
11 Jul 02 | UK
19 Jul 01 | UK
04 Jan 02 | England
12 Apr 02 | England
15 Apr 02 | England
10 Jul 02 | Forum
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