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Tories warn of 'credit crunch crime wave'

Tories warned of a "credit crunch crime wave" today as new figures showed worrying rises in burglary and theft.

Robberies involving knives shot up by nearly a fifth and the number of fatal stabbings rose by 10% last year, Home Office quarterly crime figures showed.

Fraud and forgery were up by 16% and drug offences by 9%, the figures showed .

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith promised a new burglary prevention campaign to begin next month.

And she cited falls in the overall level of violent crime, which was down 6%.

But the figures raised questions over the effectiveness of the Government's anti-knife crackdown, which began in June.

The number of robberies involving knives or other sharp objects went up by 18% from 3,951 to 4,207 between July and September last year. Attempted murders involving knives were up 8% in the same period.

The breakdown of annual recorded crime statistics showed fatal stabbings hit an all-time high last year.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "These statistics show yet another harsh consequence of Gordon Brown's economic downturn.

"This is made worse because the Home Secretary clearly has no idea how to deal with this credit crunch crime wave.

"It is particularly alarming that robberies involving knives have soared and that fatal stabbings are at an all-time high. The Government's complacency in this area is proving fatal."

The figures showed police recorded a 4% increase in domestic burglaries and a 3% rise in burglaries from businesses and other premises.

The British Crime Survey - the Government's preferred measure of crime levels - showed thefts from individuals were up 13% in the year to September.

Ms Smith said: "There will be a small minority of criminals who think they can take advantage in tough times. Let me tell them now, they can't and they won't.

"We are determined to stay on the front foot in keeping crime down but this needs to involve all of us, presenting a united front against the small minority who continue to commit crime."

The figures showed overall recorded crime was down 3% and crimes involving firearms plummeted 29% compared with the same period last year.

Belfast Telegraph


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