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Violent crime on rise in UK

01 May 2018

THE LATEST crime statistics for the UK has shown a sharp increase in violent crime but overall levels of reported crime is roughly flat year-on-year, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The statistics for 2017 show a 22% increase in knife crime (39,598 incidents), 11% increase in gun crime (6,604 incidents), 9% increase in homicides (653 reported incidents, which excludes terrorist-related fatalities), 33% increase in robberies (74,130) but a 28% decrease in online fraud offenses (1,374,000 offences). 

The ONS report on the statistics explained that while crime has fallen over the long-term, the short-term picture is more stable with most types of crime staying at similar levels to 2016. It is too early to say whether this indicates a change to the overall trend or simply a pause, which has happened before. A fall in crime estimated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) was mainly driven by a 28% decrease in computer misuse offences, largely due to a decline in computer viruses.

Alexa Bradley from Office for National Statistics said: “Today’s figures show that, for most types of offence, the picture of crime has been fairly stable, with levels much lower than the peak seen in the mid-1990s. Eight in ten adults had not experienced any of the crimes asked about in our survey in the latest year.

“However, we have seen an increase in the relatively rare, but "high-harm" violent offences such as homicide, knife crime and gun crime, a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years. We have also seen evidence that increases in some types of theft have continued, in particular vehicle-related theft and burglary.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Crime Recording and Statistics Chief Constable Bill Skelly added: “In the last year policing has been under strain as traditional crimes are committed in new and more sophisticated ways, the terror threat has grown and there’s a need to safeguard an increasing number of vulnerable people.

“While the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which is based on people’s experience of crime, indicates that crime is falling overall, police data shows that violent crime and the associated homicides, car crime and theft are all increasing significantly. These rises are genuine and deeply concerning but the public should be assured we are doing everything we can to bring them down and keep the public safe. 

“After many years of reductions, car crime and theft are now increasing. Forces continue to target organised crime gangs and prolific offenders, who are increasingly using sophisticated methods to commit crime.

“Tackling violent crime isn’t something police forces can do alone – it requires a whole system approach. Officers continue to employ stop and search to seize knives and weapons and we work closely with schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and stop them from turning to a life of crime.  As set out in the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, early intervention is desperately needed to make long term change.”