Criminal damage on the rise

CRIMINAL damage in Suffolk has risen at nearly twice the national rate with more than 13,000 cases reported last year, it can be revealed today.And community leaders said while such vandalism may seem like low-level crime to many, it was blighting people's daily lives - denting the pride they have in their home towns and villages.

CRIMINAL damage in Suffolk has risen at nearly twice the national rate with more than 13,000 cases reported last year, it can be revealed today.

And community leaders said while such vandalism may seem like low-level crime to many, it was blighting people's daily lives - denting the pride they have in their home towns and villages.

According to the Government, there were 13,067 cases of criminal damage in Suffolk during 2005-6 - compared to 7,835 in 1997. The 67 per cent increase was almost double the national rise of 35pc in the same period.

But Suffolk police claimed the rise was partly due to changes in the way crime statistics were collated.

Joanne Rogers, community safety officer for Mid Suffolk District Council, said vandalism had a “wearing effect” on residents.

She said it was often a symptom of adults drinking too much alcohol, youngsters being bored or people simply not taking responsibility for their actions.

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She said: “It wears people down. Often they do not see it as a crime and they do not want to bother police about it but it upsets them.”

The council is tackling the issue by working with publicans and other organisations, as well as encouraging young people to get involved in activities in the district.

Tony Spall, chairman of the Ipswich South East Network Group of Neighbourhood Watch, said it was helping raise awareness among the community and encouraging people to adopt a “see it, report it” approach, no matter how minor the offence.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Where police become aware of ongoing problems officers will give extra attention to the area - and will work with partners, such as local councils and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, through the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, to tackle the issue.

“This response has already seen significant results in some areas. For example, Woodbridge experienced a 20pc decrease in criminal damage with 162 fewer crimes being committed in 2005-6.”

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