Crime Statistics For 2013: A Review
When the results of the Crime Survey of England and Wales were released in the early part of 2014, a significant drop in reported crime grabbed the headlines across the country.
The drop in overall crime over the calendar year was 10%, and now stands at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981. In total, it is estimated that around 8 million crimes were reported last year, making it the lowest number of offences in the 32-year history of the survey. Compare this with figures in 1995 of around 18 million offences and it’s easy to see that the UK is heading in the right direction in terms of curbing criminal activity.
The figures certainly speak for themselves, and say a great deal about the continued drop in criminal activity over the last two decades. The Office for National Statistics specified on a number of criminal issues, and the report takes into account the number of people who report to the police that they have been a victim of crime.
The independent report is produced following interviews with around 40,000 members of public and takes into account crimes against adults and households.
There are several statistics that jump out of the survey at first glance, and Prime Minister David Cameron praised the police force following the publishing of the survey, saying that the overall fall was “bringing security to people.”
The report wasn’t all good news however, with several types of crime up compared with previous years. This includes rape offences with weapons increasing by 11% and around a 7% rise in theft from the person, which includes pickpocketing and mugging.
Among the most pleasing statistics to be drawn from the survey were the figures that murders and killings are now almost half of what they were ten years ago, along with the 8% fall in personal crime and what is perceived to be a 10% fall in household crime, relating to vehicles and property.
It is worth noting that the fall in household crime stems from a greater number of households investing in improved security around their home or small business. The improved level of protection around homes is an important deterrent on a daily basis, and goes someway to explaining the overall decrease in reported thefts from households and business premises.
On the other hand, improvements can still be made in preventing some other types of common crimes. Shoplifting rose by 4% (313,000 offences) to the year ending September 2013, its highest level since 2008/9 and it’s clear that big steps need to be taken in order to regulate this kind of offence. Certain shops and business premises could benefit from installing greater security measures in order to reduce the risk of shoplifters or thieves making away with valuable goods. Simple solutions that could limit the vulnerability of some shops would be to install security cameras or to ensure that the premises can be locked thoroughly at night time.
The Right Direction
While there have been many contested opinions for several years on the reliability of these figures, it does seem that crime really is coming down. It is widely believed that the figures are manipulated in order to meet performance-based targets in policing, however the drop in violent crimes and murders since the mid 1990s is believed to be perfectly trustworthy.
The crime prevention minister Norman Baker believes that the fall in crime can be attributed to the police reform programme under the current coalition government. “Overall, crime has fallen under this coalition government by more than 10%, according to the Crime Survey, and this is mirrored by the fall in police-recorded crime since 2010. England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades with crime now at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981.”
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