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2001: Crime rates lowest for 20 years

The chances of being a victim of crime are at their lowest since 1981 the latest British Crime Survey has revealed.

Over 9,000 adults were questioned in the first round of the survey which will be completed in 2002.

The results showed the crime rate has fallen sharply for the third time since the survey began in 1981.

Between 1999 and 2000 overall crime fell by 12% with a significant reduction in violent crimes, domestic burglary and vehicle-related thefts.

But the survey also found people continue to overestimate the problem of crime with about one third of those questioned believing that crime rates had actually risen.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said the figures were welcome but more needed to be done.

"This is excellent news and is the result of investment in crime reduction initiatives by the government, the police, our community partners and business," he said.

"But rates of crime are still too high and over the coming years we will continue to target burglary, vehicle crime and all forms of violent crime."


"Rates of crime are still too high"

Home Secretary David Blunkett

In response a Conservative Party spokesman said: "It is a terrible indictment on our society that 13 million offences were committed last year and that more than one in four adults were a victim of crime."

Critics warned the survey overlooked some crime rates.

Growing numbers of under 16-year-olds were victims of mobile phone robberies but were too young to be included in the survey.

Crimes such as internet fraud and stalking were also not included in the research.

In Context
The survey was completed at the end of 2002 and more than 40,000 people will have been questioned.

Young men were shown to be five times more likely than the national average of 3.9% to be the victims of crime.

This was attributed to the fact they tend to frequent public houses and clubs where alcohol-related disorder often occurs.


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