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Ford welcomes progress made on perceptions of crime

Justice Minister David Ford has welcomed a new survey which shows that progress is being made into how the public perceive crime in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland there remains a tendency to believe that crime levels are increasing when they are not but the latest statistics, published in the ‘Perceptions of Crime: Findings from the 2012/13 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’ show that improvements are being made. 

Key findings include:

· A decrease in the number of respondents (10% down from 12% in 2011/12) who perceive anti-social behaviour in their local area to be high;

· Over nearly 10 years, the percentage of people who thought crime levels had increased has fallen dramatically to 59% from 79%; 

· A decrease in respondents who perceived it likely they would be a victim of burglary (11% down from 14%, car crime (12% down from 15%) and violent crime (7% down from 9%); and 

· At 70%, the majority of respondents felt that ‘fear of crime’ has a minimal impact to their quality of life, an improvement from 67% in 2011/12.

Welcoming the improvements made, the Justice Minister said the differences represent statistically significant changes and pointed to the progress being made in implementing the Community Safety Strategy along with the contribution from Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs).

David Ford said: “Perception of crime is an important indicator of how safe the community in Northern Ireland feels. I am encouraged that this publication shows statistically significant improvements in some areas. Progress is clearly being made and people do feel safer. 

“The perceived level of anti-social behaviour in local areas and fear of crime continues to fall with the largest majority of people to date (70%) indicating the effect of fear of crime on their quality of life to be minimal.

“It is also encouraging that the latest findings continue to demonstrate the confidence local people have in the decreasing levels of crime in their areas. I have no doubt that the excellent partnership working in PCSPs is contributing to these results. I have been able to see first hand a number of excellent projects throughout Northern Ireland which are delivering local solutions to local problems, regularly with the involvement of the community.”

Acknowledging that there is still some way to go, David Ford continued: “In welcoming these improvements I want to acknowledge that crime and the fear of crime continues to have a very real impact on individuals and communities across Northern Ireland. These statistics show progress but there’s more to be done.”

The report also finds that there remains a disparity between the fear of becoming a victim of crime and the actual risk. The public also continue to have a tendency to think that crime levels are increasing even when they are decreasing.

David Ford continued: “Tackling anti-social behaviour, crime and the fear of crime is a priority for my Department, and the Executive, through the Community Safety Strategy. I have in place Action Plans to tackle a number of areas including drugs and alcohol – a particular area of concern highlighted in these statistics.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The Statistical Bulletin Perceptions of Crime: Findings from the 2012/13 Northern Ireland Crime Survey is available on the DOJ website at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/r-and-s-bulletin-1-2014-perceptions-of-crime-findings-from-the-2012-13-northern-ireland-crime-survey.

2. The Department of Justice’s Building Safer, shared and Confident Communities, A Community Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017, was published in July 2012. It sets the direction for reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and fear of crime in Northern Ireland for the five year period. It can be viewed athttp://www.dojni.gov.uk/community-safety-strategy-2012-2017

3. The Minister recently updated the Justice Committee on the progress being made on delivering the Community Safety Strategy Action Plans. The progress reports can be viewed at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/justice-committee-paper-community-safety-strategy-progress-reports. The Action Plan are available athttp://www.dojni.gov.uk/community-safety-strategy-action-plan

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