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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Wales records fall in crime
Line of police officers
The Home Office says there has been an increase in police numbers
The number of recorded crimes has fallen in Wales during the past year, according to figures released by the Home Office.

The statistics for the 12 months up to March 2004 show that overall recorded crime had fallen in Wales by 2% on the previous year.

Across England and Wales as a whole, recorded crime rose by 1%, and violent crime has also increased.

The survey, called Crime in England and Wales, also showed that Wales had the lowest rates of burglary, and cases of vehicle theft had fallen by 9%.

99 crimes per 1,000 of population recorded
Recorded crime fell by 2%
There were 289,263 crimes committed
Burglary rates the lowest in England and Wales
5% of population victims of assault or theft from the person
People in South Wales Police area most likely to be victims of crime

The crime figures showed that 289,263 crimes were committed in Wales in 2003-4 - a total of 99 crimes per 1,000 of the population.

In the last year, 5% of people in Wales were victims of assault or theft, while 15% of Welsh households were targeted by burglars and vandals.

The survey also found that people living the South Wales Police force area were more likely to be victims of crime than those living in the Dyfed-Powys, Gwent or North Wales force areas.

North Wales Police returned a 5% fall in recorded crime - above the Welsh average of a 2% fall.

The force area also saw a 15% decrease in recorded burglary.

Deputy Chief Constable, Clive Wolfendale, said: "These figures reflect the work and commitment of officers and staff of North Wales Police."

Pensioner watches a burglary (generic)
The number of burglaries has fallen by 9% in Wales

The Gwent force area also saw an above-average fall in recorded crime with a 3% reduction over 2003-4.

Gwent Police also returned the UK's second-highest detection rate with 44%.

Chief Superintendent Alun Thomas, of Gwent Police, added: "I am pleased to see crime continuing to drop in the Gwent force area.

"This is a result of the hard work and commitment of our officers, and our partners, who are striving to improve life for those living in our communities."

'More police officers'

The Home Office crime figures used data from the British Crime Survey and police crime figures for the 12 months to March 2004.

Wales Office minister Don Touhig, whose responsibilities include anti-crime measures, welcomed the overall reduction in recorded crime.

He said: "I am very pleased to note that Wales has the lowest burglary rate of any region in England and Wales.

"Domestic burglary recorded in 2003-4 fell by 9% in Wales, and the records also show that theft of vehicles in Wales fell by 9%.

"Part of the success in reducing crime is down to the fact that there are more police officers in Wales.

"There were 7,366 in December 2003, an increase of 98 over six months previously.

"There is no room for complacency, and we are determined not to let up in the continuing fight against crime."

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