Latest figures reveal a slight rise in crime rate

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THERE was a slight rise in crime across the borough last year, according to the PSNI’s latest statistics.

Figures for the period April 2010 - March 31 this year show that there was a total of 4,223 recorded crimes in the Newtownabbey area - a 1.5 per cent increase compared to the previous financial year.

The official statistics, released this week, also reveal that local police cleared less than a quarter of all crimes recorded during the 12 months - just 21.3 per cent.

Offences against the person were up by 7.1 per cent from the previous year to 976, there were 20 more sexual offences (87 in total) and burglaries also increased, up by 7.3 per cent to 615 incidents.

While the number of break-ins involving non-domestic properties rose sharply over the year, there was better news in terms of domestic burglaries, down 12.1 per cent to 357, and thefts, which dropped by 5.3 per cent to 950 cases. Recorded incidents of criminal damage also decreased, down by 4.8 per cent to 1,098 for the year.

While clearance figures for some crime categories improved over the year, detection rates in terms of burglaries (less than 6 per cent) and criminal damage (just over 8 per cent) remain low.

Reflecting on the statistics, PSNI Area Commander Paula Hilman commented: “Overall there were 63 more reported crimes in Newtownabbey last year and while I am disappointed in this slight increase, I am however heartened by the 12.1 per cent reduction in domestic burglary. This means 47 fewer local people found their homes violated and their treasured possessions stolen.

“This year’s figures tell us that while we have been making significant strides forward in tackling a number of local issues, we can still do more.

“Over the next 12 months we will work hard to deliver upon all of our policing plan promises, particularly around clearance rates for burglary and effectively tackling anti-social behaviour, as well as honouring our publicly stated Policing Commitments. These clearly lay out our plans to provide the people of Newtownabbey with the personal, professional and protective policing service they have told us they want and I firmly believe that in doing so we will continue to build confidence in local policing and ultimately drive down crime.”

According to the most recent figures provided by the police, reports of anti-social behaviour fell by 7.1 per cent last year - a total of 302 fewer recorded incidents than in the previous financial year.

“Officers in Newtownabbey have listened to people’s concern around this issue and these latest figures are a testament to their commitment to working to improve quality of life for people living in areas that would have traditionally been troubled by anti-social behaviour.

“Officers also made 107 dugs seizures and made 72 arrests for drugs offences in 2010/11. This is again evidence of local police acting on the concerns of communities through proactive operations and searches. As always we welcome information from local people that will enable us to carry out more of this work over the next 12 months,” Chief Inspector Hilman added.

Commenting on the figures, a District Policing Partnership spokesperson said: “In relation to the number of burglaries of people’s homes it’s good that there has been a reduction of these. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of burglaries of commercial type premises and garages and the DPP has discussed with the local Commander what steps she is taking to get these reduced.

“There also remain concerns that the number of offenders being caught for crimes, especially burglaries, is far too low.”