Crime has fallen across Thames Valley and West Berkshire, but rape and arson increase, new figures reveal
Number of recorded rapes, arsons and drugs offences rises but number of burglaries drops
THE number of rapes, arson attacks and drug offences recorded in West Berkshire has risen in the past year – but that of burglaries, racist crimes, robberies and vehicle crimes has fallen.
Official police figures released this week show that between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 overall crime in the district has fallen by 3.3 per cent, with 266 fewer crimes and 340 fewer victims of crime compared with the previous year.
Burglaries from a dwelling have fallen by 11.4 per cent, from 271 offences to 240, while non-dwelling burglaries, which includes sheds and other outbuildings, has dropped by seven per cent from 743 to 691 offences.
Personal property robberies are down by 6.9 per cent, while vehicle crime has fallen by 19.2 per cent.
However, sexual offences have increased by 18 per cent – from 167 in 2013/14 to 197 in 2014/15.
The number of reported rapes has increased by 40 per cent from 35 offences last year to 49 this year. Thames Valley Police says that more than a quarter of the rape reports concern crimes that happened before April 2014 and reflects victims’ confidence in the police’s ability to investigate and bring offenders to justice.
Bicycle theft has increased by 22.3 per cent from 157 to 192, while theft from the person has risen by 47.3 per cent from 74 to 109, however criminal damage as a whole is down by 12.7 per cent.
Drug offences have increased by 20.8 per cent from 519 to 627, with trafficking of drugs up 74.5 per cent from 55 to 96 and the possession of drugs rising by 14.4 per cent from 464 to 531.
Burglary is down 8.2 per cent, while racist and homophobic incidents are also down.
Crime has also fallen across the Thames Valley as a whole with a drop of more than 6,000 crimes recorded and 5,000 fewer victims.
Across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire there were 121,208 crimes recorded between April 2014 and March 2015, compared with 127,408 the previous year.
The figures, taken from the Thames Valley Police crime performance figures between 2009/10 and 2014/15, show that victim-based crime has fallen by 4.5 per cent with robbery, burglary and vehicle theft also showing significant drops.
Robbery is down by 17 per cent and all burglary has fallen by 18 per cent, with dwelling burglaries at their lowest level since 1973.
The chance of being a victim of vehicle theft has also fallen by 18 per cent in two years, with the odds of being a victim one in 203 in 2014, down from one in 159 in 2012.
There have been some rises in the most recent figures, however, – most notably sexual offence reporting has increased by 34.5 per cent and the reporting of rape is up by 52.6 per cent in the past year. Violence against the person across the Thames Valley also increased by 10.4 per cent.
Supt Jim Weems, local police commander for West Berkshire, said: “These encouraging figures demonstrate the commitment of police, partners and the community working to achieve a common aim of making our area a safer place to live and work in.
“However, there is no room for complacency and it means we must work even harder in this coming year to improve upon any positive outcomes and to tackle any area that could be improved upon.”