Belfast Telegraph

Crime levels are rising again after four years on the wane

By Chris Kilpatrick

Domestic abuse, violent crime, race hate and bomb attacks are on the rise in Northern Ireland – with the number of people responsible caught by police falling.

Statistics released by the PSNI showed an increase in the number of overall crimes reported to police compared to the previous year.

And they revealed the number of people made amenable dropped during the same period.

The spikes were described as "really shocking" by Policing Board member Dolores Kelly. Chief Constable Matt Baggott said it was "worth noting that this follows four years of decreasing crime levels".

Violent crimes increased by almost 7% and sexual offences by more than 15%.

Racist incidents shot up by a third with a sharp increase in the the number of homophobic crimes and those against the disabled.

The latest crime statistics for Northern Ireland show that there were 102,746 crimes recorded by the PSNI in 2013/14 compared with 100,389 in 2012/13, an increase of 2,357 (2.3%).

In 2013/14, the PSNI recorded 1,284 sectarian incidents, 982 racist incidents, 280 homophobic incidents, 107 disability incidents, 24 faith/religion incidents and 23 incidents targeting transgendered people.

There were increases in thefts, drug offences, possession of weapons and public disorder. Crimes against the disabled rose by 33, an increase of 44.5%.

A surge in dissident republican activity towards the end of 2013 saw the number of bombing incidents rise by 25 to 69. Shootings fell by 10 to 54.

The outcome rates – crimes for which people were caught and made amendable – fell by 2.3% to 29.5%.

DUP MLA and Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said: "Disappointingly, the overall crime outcome rate has fallen and whilst we are aware of the particular operational pressures that PSNI had to deal with during the last year, board members will be concerned about this drop, its impact on those who have been the victim of crime and the wider community."

Among the other figures published, burglaries fell by 5.4%, increases were recorded in drugs seizures (7.8%) and arrests for drug offences (3%).

The number of anti-social incidents reported, 60,357, was the lowest since 2006.

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