Crime data released today shows that Devon and Cornwall continue to be one of the safest places in the country.
Total crime recorded between July 2020 and June 2021 decreased by 0.6% from the previous year based on the quarterly release of the annual crime figures by the Office of National Statistics.
Police recorded crime data also shows a decrease of 3.1% for victim-based crime recorded between July 2020 and June 2021.
One of the categories with the largest reduction is ‘all burglary’, which fell by 26.1%. This category is made up of ‘residential burglary’ which saw a decrease of 22.7% and ‘non-residential burglary’ which saw a decrease of 28.9%. This is likely due to restrictions posed by the pandemic which meant that more people were in their homes.
The statistics show some increases in recorded crime for the year. Public order offences increased by 15.7%, which is likely due to the easing of restrictions from 2020 with the reopening of the night-time economy (NTE).
There was an increase of 5.9% in ‘violence against a person’ and an increase of 11.4% for sexual offences in the police force area.
There was also an increase in drug offences between 2020 and 2021 of 13.7%. Possession of weapons also saw a recorded increase of 15.4%. These increases reflect an increase in proactive policing and new requirements to record offences identified by the Border Force.
This expected rise in some reports of crime is likely due to the easing of restrictions after the Coronavirus pandemic during 2020 which saw the country in lockdown.
Deputy Chief Constable, Jim Colwell said “We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic may have created challenges through changes in behaviours, which need addressing to ensure that we continue to keep our communities safe. We are pleased to see an overall reduction in crime for Devon and Cornwall, but there is still a lot of work to be done to tackle violence against a person, and sexual offences, which saw a significant rise over the period.
“We will continue to keep up to date and informed on the Violence Against Women and Girls Government strategy. We are committed to ensuring our communities feel safe, particularly women who continue to be targets of sexual violence and assault. We are determined to do everything in our power to make sure that criminals are caught and sentenced.”
“We must work hard on increasing public confidence in policing and build trust and relationships with our communities.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “While it is reassuring to see that the force area is one of the safest in the country it is vital that we do not shy away from potential rises in recorded crime that are the result of proactive operations and campaigns such as those that encourage the reporting of sexual abuse.”
“If we are to truly become the safest force area in England and Wales it is vital that our residents and visitors report crime, and we have a true picture of offending and harm in society. Reporting crime is a responsibility that is incumbent upon all of us.”
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Linzi Berryman (Police, Devon and Cornwall Alert Officer, Devon & Cornwall)