Belfast Telegraph

South Belfast crime increase 'disappointing'

By Rebecca Petticrew

There has been a significant spike in numerous forms of crime in south Belfast in the period of April to August 2013 compared to the same period last year.

In total there were 650 more recorded crimes in south Belfast between April and August this year, according to new PSNI figures.

All figures herein compare the period of April/August 2012 and the same in 2013.

In all there has been a 14.9% increase in crime across south Belfast, compared to a 8.9% increase across C District, and a 10.1% increase in the Castlereagh area.

There has been an 18.4% increase in violent crimes "against the person". There were 1,089 between April and August 2012 compared to 1,289 this year.

There was a 4.6% drop in violent crimes causing injury – including murder/homicide – but a 49.8 increase in violent crimes that ended without injury.

In C District as a whole there was a 2.4% change, with 1,478 violent crimes in 2012 and 1,513 in 2013. Castlereagh saw a similar trend with a 4% increase in violent crimes (247 in 2013 and 257 in 2013).

However there has been a 7.8% drop in sexual offences in south Belfast – 64 in 2012 versus 59 in 2013.

There was a 42% increase in robberies in south Belfast, with a 50% increase in robberies against the person and the same (13) amount of robberies of business properties. Thefts in south Belfast shot up by 10.3% in 2013 with 2,461 recorded offences compared to 2,232 in 2012.

Domestic burglaries saw a massive increase from 216 to 314 – a 52.4% increase. Thefts against people saw a drop of 21.1%, there was a drop in vehicle theft (319 compared to 345 in 2012) but 35 more bikes were stolen in south Belfast this year compared to last – 165 versus 130.

There was 7.4% drop in recorded shoplifting offences and a 28.9% increase in all other theft offences. Criminal damage increased by 5%.

There were minute drops in drug offences – both possession and trafficking – and a 21.3% drop in public order offences and a 32.8% increase in miscellaneous crimes against society.

South Belfast PCSP member and DUP councillor Christopher Stalford said that while he was pleased that statistics for murder and sexual offences had seen a drop that "it was worrying that the overall trend was moving in an upward direction". He said: "It is incumbent on the police to redouble their efforts to get to grips with crime in south Belfast."

Councillor Kate Mullan said: "I am disappointed at the increase in crimes committed in South Belfast, including an increase in domestic burglary, but not entirely surprised. I am disappointed at the increase in crimes committed in south Belfast."

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