Violent crime bucks drop in offences

A NEW crime-fighting partnership today hailed a drop in recorded crime – but did not highlight big increases in violence and its failure to meet key targets.

A NEW crime-fighting partnership today hailed a drop in recorded crime – but did not highlight big increases in violence and its failure to meet key targets.

While crime in the Suffolk Coastal area fell by six per cent in the past year, incidents of violent crime, much of it drink-fuelled, rose 33 per cent in Woodbridge and 27pc in Leiston.

In addition, there was a 15pc increase in disturbances in public places across the district – while the council-led Suffolk Coastal crime and disorder reduction partnership had actually pledged to reduce anti-social behaviour by 16pc.

It had also vowed to stop criminal damage increasing but the figures show there was a five pc rise in vandalism.

Now the partnership – which covers from Felixstowe to Westleton – has set itself new targets for the year ahead.

These include undertaking an anti-social behaviour analysis, and to start work on anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) against nuisance youths.

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The group had said it would prevent an increase in violent crime in the four main towns but incidents in Woodbridge went up from 18 to 24 and in Leiston 82 to 104. In Felixstowe there was a one pc drop – from 148 to 146 incidents, and in Saxmundham a 27pc decrease.

The group said there was only an overall increase in violent crime of three pc, which compares well with Suffolk's eight pc rise.

"Woodbridge's large increase was caused by just six more incidents than the year before," it said.

"So far as Leiston is concerned, the local implementation group plans to relaunch the local Pubwatch scheme and it is hoped that this will help to stem a further increase in the level of violent crime."

Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member and part of the crime reduction partnership, preferred to concentrate on the successes of the past year.

"While across the county the rate of crime remained the same, the good news for this district is that here it fell by six per cent," she said.

"This is now the second safest district in the third safest county in the country. Our rate of crime at 50.3 per 1,000 population compares to a Suffolk average of 75.2, an eastern region figure of 91, and the national average of 113, which proves that you are more than twice as safe in our district compared to the rest of the country."

One major success was a 29pc drop in burglaries in the district.

"While each of these crimes is traumatic for the individual concerned, the figures reveal that there were only 3.5 burglaries in Suffolk Coastal per 1,000 households compared to a national average of 43.9m" said Mrs O'Brien.

"This statistic helps bring home the fact about how comparatively safe our district is for its residents. The Partnership is not complacent – we know that every crime has a victim, and remain committed to working together to successfully reduce crime and disorder across the district."

The partnership also includes the county council, police, and Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust.

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