Belfast Telegraph

More than 100,000 crimes recorded in Northern Ireland last year- up 2.9%

100,995 crimes were recorded by police in Northern Ireland in the last year (stock photo)
100,995 crimes were recorded by police in Northern Ireland in the last year (stock photo)
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

More than 100,000 crimes were recorded in Northern Ireland last year, representing a rise of 2.9% on the previous year.

The annual crime figures published on Friday reveal that 100,995 crimes were recorded by the PSNI in the 12 months from April 1 2018 to March 31 2019. An increase of 2,875 when compared with the previous 12 months.

Increased crime levels were seen in violence against the person offences, sexual offences and drug offences.

While criminal damage, burglary and vehicle offences showed falling levels.

Police recorded crime in Northern Ireland has moved in a generally downwards direction over the last 15 years. Falls in burglary, robbery, criminal damage and vehicle offences have contributed to this.

Last year there was 36,472 violence against the person crimes recorded, a 6.8% rise from the previous year.

The number of violence without injury crimes was 16,896.

There was an increase by 113 in sexual offences to reach 3,547, three times higher than the lowest level recorded in 2000/01.

1,099 rapes were recorded, nearly five times higher than the lowest level recorded in 2000/01 (232 offences).

The number of drug offences recorded increased by 662 to reach 7,106, more than six times higher than the lowest level in 2001/02.

The number of possession of weapons offences increased by 65 to 1,064, when compared to the previous year.

Recorded crime in Belfast City was up by 1.6%, while in Derry City & Strabane, it was down by 1%.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said: "While it is disappointing that across Northern Ireland, the recording of crime overall seems to have increased by just under 3%, this figure needs to be wholly understood.

"How police record some offences has changed - which has had an impact on these statistics."

"We fully recognise the impact crimes such as robbery can have on people's lives and livelihoods.

"We are not complacent about any crime or any offence - and police officers will continue to work round the clock to keep people and communities safe.

"Of course, an increase in the reporting of crime to police can also indicate greater confidence in policing.

"We believe this is the case around domestic abuse - where in 2018/19, we saw in increase of 11.4% in this type of crime on the previous 12 months."

“The levels of anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland are at their lowest since 2006/07.  This year there were 56,503 incidents of ASB which is a 7.7% decrease on the previous 12 months.   Nine of the 11 policing districts showed lower levels of anti-social behaviour.

“We work in a challenging environment: we have less officers in the Police Service and in the last five years have also experienced cuts to our budget of £150m.  Despite this, we will continue to work hard in the communities we serve and strive to be an even more effective and efficient Police Service.

“It is vital that people continue to tell us about crime when they see it or experience it.  We can only work to address issues when we know about them.  I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime or has information about crime to report it to us.”

Anne Connolly, Policing Board chair, said: “These figures provide an insight into the range of crime types and resulting demands on the PSNI in its service to the community

"Since 2016/17, when the lowest level was recorded, the figures have shown an annual increase but still remain relatively low when compared with other policing areas.

"That said, in this report there are some notable increases in a number of reported crime types which require further analysis. There are also areas where crime reports have fallen so it is equally important to understand why this is the case.

"As a board, we are mindful that behind every statistic is a crime victim and we want people to have the confidence to report crime and be satisfied in how their case has been handled by the police and the wider criminal justice system.

"The board will be questioning the chief constable at the June meeting so that there can be full scrutiny and understanding of the published figures.”

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