Latest crime figures for Chichester show rise in recorded offences

The average rate across England and Wales was 85 crimes per 1,000 residents, and the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent to the highest level since 2008.
The average rate across England and Wales was 85 crimes per 1,000 residents, and the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent to the highest level since 2008.

Crime has increased year-on-year in Chichester, according to the latest police recorded figures.

There were 6,612 reported offences during the 12 months to September 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

That is up by four per cent on the previous year, when 6,348 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 55 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 85.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “In recent decades we’ve seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level.

“Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.

“We have also seen increases in some types of ‘lower-volume, high-harm’ violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments.”

Gun and knife possession offences in Chichester rose by 14 to 58 incidents.

There were 348 residential burglaries reported in 2017-18. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figures cannot be compared with other years.

There has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent, to the highest level since 2008. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

In Chichester, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, decreased by nine per cent. Drugs related offences slightly rose by two per cent.

Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.

“We are determining the additional capabilities and investment we need to drive down violence and catch more criminals – and we will make the case at the next Government Spending Review.”

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said: “These statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low, but we recognise that certain crimes – particularly violent crime – have increased, and we are taking action to address this.”

Criminal damage in Chichester, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone down, from 823 incidents in 2016-17, to 815 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, the ONS said this could be due to improved police recording.

Similarly, the ONS said sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Chichester, there were 233 incidents recorded between October 2017 and September 2018, a ten per cent rise on the previous year, when 212 crimes were reported.

There were also 334 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said: “Society just isn’t as safe as it once was, and although the police service is doing everything within its power, we are swimming against the tide.”

• Report by Ralph Blackburn, data reporter

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• To see the figures for the each area of Sussex follow these links – Adur; Arun; Brighton and Hove; Chichester; Crawley; Eastbourne; Hastings; Horsham; Lewes; Mid Sussex; Rother; Wealden; Worthing