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Crime is going up - no it isn't.

March 9, 2016 4:40 PM

Figures presented to Wiltshire's Police and Crime panel seem to show that crime is increasing in Wiltshire. Whilst 39 forces across the country have increased the volume of recorded crime compared to the previous 12 months, Wiltshire's increase is now ahead of the national average (+7.8%).

However for every figure the Police and Crime Commissioner has an explanation.

On 21 January 2016, the ONS published the national crime statistics for the 12 months to September 2015. For the 12 months ending December 2015, Wiltshire recorded 36,610 crimes.

This represents a 14.8% increase on the previous year. The volume of crime recorded is driven by increased non-emergency calls, police or partner referrals and email contact rather than 999 calls for service.

In Wiltshire there was an increase is violence against the person (VAP) of 1,841 crimes. This is explained by improved recording practices.

Sexual offences ... are also increasing locally but not to a degree where it is having significant impact on total crime volumes.

In terms of public order offences, Wiltshire, along with 35 other forces, has seen an increase in recorded volume. This increase represents a significant proportion of the Force's overall crime increase. Whilst the rate of change is significantly high, the actual volume of public order offences is in line with the peer group average.

Wiltshire has seen a significant increase in the volume of recorded robbery offences (+47.2%). However, to keep some perspective, this equates to an additional 67 offences recorded.

Dwelling burglary volume has increased 17% on the previous year. This amounts to 190 more offences. The increasing trend is not statistically significant.

In a simple year-on-year comparison, shoplifting has increased by 21% (642 offences). Monthly volumes of shoplifting offences have come back down to normal levels for quarter three and are not considered an exception.

The increase in the volume of racially/religiously aggravated offences is statistically significant and the underlying cause is the improvement in recording processes.The increase is predominantly driven by an increase in occurrences of public fear, alarm and distress, which accounts for two thirds of this crime group and is in line with the overall increase seen in public order offences.

The Force records 11 racially/religiously aggravated offences per week on average. The volume of Islamophobia offences reported in the last year is minimal.

There has been an increase in the volume of recorded domestic abuse. This mirrors the finding from the VAP local and national analysis that recording practices have improved and are a more accurate representation of reality.

Quotes are from the agenda for the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime panel March 3rd 2016.