Police say people are unduly worried about crime in one of safest counties in UK (From The Oxford Times)
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Police say people are unduly worried about crime in one of safest counties in UK
RESIDENTS are still “unduly worried” about crime, despite a drop in offending across Oxfordshire, according to a senior police officer.
Figures released by Thames Valley Police show crime has fallen by up to 18 per cent across the county.
The statistics are from April 1 to July 31 and are compared to the same four -month period last year.
Although crime overall is down, a number of offences saw increases in certain parts of the county, in particular sex crimes.
Serious sexual offences in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire rose by 26 per cent from 27 to 34, with rape reports rising from 11 to 15, a hike of 36 per cent.
And only one in 10 of these resulted in a charge, caution or convictrion which means South and Vale district police have missed their target of one in three.
Overall crime in South and Vale is down though, by 18 per cent, from 3,766 offences last year to 3,091 this year.
More of these offences are being dealt with successfully, with a rise in detection rate – crimes that result in a caution, charge or conviction – from 24 per cent to 26 per cent. In West Oxfordshire, the total number of offences fell by 12 per cent, from 1,461 crimes committed to 1,290.
Detections also rose slightly from 25 to 26 per cent.
Chief Inspector Colin Paine, area commander for the district, said: “It’s early days, but overall I am pleased.
“Although this really is one of the safest places to live in England, some people remain unduly worried about crime.
“I hope these figures will go some way to reassure them.”
But there have been slight rises in burglary, violence against the person with injury, and assault without injury. Domestic burglaries have gone up from 33 to 36, violence against the person from 123 to 132, and assault without injury rose from 87 to 95.
Mr Paine added: “We’ve had three more burglaries than this time last year. To be fair, last year was the lowest level of burglaries on record.”
He also said it was important residents reported suspicious activity to keep crime down.
And in Cherwell all crime fell also by 12 per cent, from 2,901 offences to 2,563.
Detection rates have gone up more significantly, rising from 26 to 34 per cent.
But Philip Walker, who in April fought off armed raiders from his Didcot home, said he did not believe the statistics.
The 53-year-old said: “It hasn’t gone down. It’s ripe in Didcot.”
Andy Viney, secretary of Thames Valley Police Federation, said last year the force cut about 100 police officers across the Thames Valley region and further cuts were expected.
He said: “These figures are to be celebrated. It shows how hard working the officers are in both the prevention and detection of crime. But with the austerity challenges we shouldn’t be complacent as these figures could easily rise as the effects of the cuts start to bite.”
Last week the Oxford Mail reported how crime in Oxford had fallen 15 per cent from 6,087 to 5,175 during the same period.
Domestic burglaries had fallen 26 per cent, with police saying they had locked up offenders and targeted the drug dealers fuelling the problem.
Carterton resident Cara Langstaff, whose 13-year-old son Thomas had his bike handlebars stolen last year, said: “I don’t feel uncomfortable safety wise but you do have to look after your property.”
The 37-year-old added: “Even when my bikes are locked up I feel uncomfortable.”
- Street-by-street crime statistics are available at oxfordmail.co.uk/li