THE number of rapes in West Berkshire has risen by almost 50 per cent in the last year while overall crime levels continue to fall, according to the latest figures released today by Thames Valley Police.
The area has seen a 5.4 per cent reduction in crime from April 1 2015 to March 31 2016 compared to the same period last year, resulting in 425 fewer victims.
However the number of reported rapes in this time have increased by 49 per cent.
Police believe the significant rise partly reflects victims’ increasing confidence in reporting the offence and their trust in the police’s ability to bring offenders to justice.
Other areas of crime have seen significant reductions with home burglaries down by more than 30 per cent, from 241 while non-dwelling burglaries, which includes sheds and other out buildings, has fallen by more than 10 per cent.
Drugs offences are also down by 30.2 per cent with the trafficking of drugs down by 17.6 per cent and possession of drugs down by 32.2 per cent.
There is also good news in relation to victim based crime overall which has fallen by 4.1 per cent overall, however, robbery of personal property has increased by 42.9 per cent.
Supt Jim Weems, local police commander for West Berkshire, said: “The overall reduction of crime in the area demonstrates the commitment of police, our partners and the community working together to achieve a common aim of making our area a safer place to live and work which has been reflected in the reduction in the level of burglaries and drugs offences.
“We have worked hard to raise awareness of sexual consent issues through our high profile #Consentiseverything campaign which emphasises the responsibility of the person instigating sex to ensure they have the full consent of their partner before taking part in any sexual activity.
“Find out more at www.consentiseverything.com.”
The news of falling crime levels comes just days after police announced they were stepping up patrols in Newbury following a spate of thefts and burglaries in the area to the south of Newbury train station between April 13 and April 18.
Det Insp Mark Carolan of Local CID at Newbury said: “There is no obvious pattern or link to these opportunistic crimes.
“We are investigating and doing everything we can to bring the offenders to justice.
“We have increased patrols in the area and I would like to remind residents of our crime reduction and prevention advice."