Belfast Telegraph

'Worrying upsurge' in criminal activity across east Belfast

Bob Malcolm

Crime across east Belfast has been more prevalent this year than last year, a worrying development according to councillor Adam Newton (inset)

There has been a sharp rise in recorded crime across east Belfast and Castlereagh according the the PSNI's latest statistics.

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

In all there has been a 16.1% increase in crime across east Belfast, compared to a 8.9% increase across C District as a whole, and a 10.1% increase in the Castlereagh area.

There has been an 11.2% increase in violent crimes "against the person". There were 607 between April and August 2012 compared to 675 this year.

There was a 2.5% drop in violent crimes causing injury – including murder/homicide – but a 27% increase in violent crimes that ended without injury.

In C District as a whole, which includes North Down, Ards, south Belfast and Castlereagh 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).

There have been almost double the amount of sexual offences in east Belfast – 23 in 2012 versus 43 in 2013.

There were 10 fewer robberies against businesses in east Belfast, but the same amount of robberies of personal property compared to last year – 16.

Thefts in east Belfast shot up by 14.4% in 2013 with 915 recorded offences compared to 800 in 2012.

Domestic burglaries saw a 19.2% increase from 120 to 143.

Thefts against people saw a drop from 22 in 2012 to 6 this year.

There was a 13.3% increase in vehicle theft (102 compared to 90 in 2012) but two more bikes were stolen in east Belfast this year compared to last – 42 versus 40.

There was 26.6% rise in recorded shoplifting offences and a19.4% increase in all other theft offences. Criminal damage increased by 14.2%.

There were drops in drug offences – both possession and trafficking; 35 public order offences were recorded and there was a small increase in miscellaneous crimes against society – perverting the course of justice, dangerous driving (not including death by dangerous driving), bail offences, health and safety offences, perjury and prostitution-related offences (not involving children).

East Belfast PCSP member Adam Newton said that the fact that crime was on the increase was a worrying thing since the trend over the last number of years had been that crime was falling.

He said: "I would urge anyone who has any information about criminal activity to contact the PSNI. Greater reporting of crime is always welcome."

He said that economic factors would contribute to more thefts in the city but added that the easiest way to deter a burglar was to take the time to make sure your house is secure.

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