Crime is on the rise in the North East as it falls in most places elsewhere.
Latest figures have revealed that the region has bucked national trends over the last 12 months and is one of the few areas in the country to see offences go up. Violence, theft and sex attacks are increasing.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics figures reveal that the Northumbria and Durham police force areas are two of just six in the country that have seen overall recorded crime increase, with incidents up in Northumbria by 2.7% and a 0.4% rise in Durham.
In Northumbria the number of violent crimes reported rose by 12.6% in 2013, one of the biggest increases in the country. Durham saw sexual offences rocket by 75%, when compared to 2012.
Acquisitive crime is also soaring in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, with burglary up by 12.3% and overall theft offences up by 6%, when compared to 2012.
Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said the force had already done work this year to tackle the increases.
“These figures, which relate to the situation last December are, in common with many Government statistics, out of date by the time they are published,” she said. “We are not complacent about these increases in crime, all of which are being or have been successfully tackled in the months since they occurred.”
Mrs Baird believes the majority of recorded violent crime is domestic related, and she hoped the increase was a sign that more victims had the confidence to report attacks to police.
“The apparent increase in violent crime is between half and two-thirds domestic violence,” she explained. “This is highly unlikely to be a real increase and is almost certainly rather a sign that we are increasing victims’ confidence to report such crimes to the police. This is good news. Domestic violence has been under reported for many years and still is so this increase is to be welcomed.”
However Mrs Baird admits the force has suffered from an increase in thefts and burglaries, which is something she predicted and attributes to the tough economic climate.
Chief Constable Sue Sim said: “We recognised during last year that acquisitive crime such as burglaries, shoplifting, bike thefts and other thefts was increasing and took immediate action to combat this.”
Durham Police has seen the number of sexual offences soar by nearly three-quarters in 2013, the biggest increase in England and Wales. Bicycle thefts have also seen a 22.5% increase, again the biggest in the country and drugs offences are up by 8%.
The force’s PCC Ron Hogg said; “The types of crime which has caused the increase relate to drug offences, violent crime and sexual offences and theft. We have seen an increase in the number of recorded drug offences. Some of this is due to members of the public being confident to provide us with vital information.
“The increases in violent crime and sexual offences largely relates to a higher volume of historical incidents that are being reported in response to the Jimmy Savile investigation.
“Durham Constabulary’s investigation of the Medomsley Detention Centre illustrates that victims are now confident to come forward.
“We will continue to deal with such crimes effectively and sensitively, ensuring that the victim remains at the heart of everything we do.
“The increase in theft and stealing offences are predominantly in relation to shoplifting where the most commonly stolen items are food, toiletries and clothes.
“However, people in our communities are now less likely to be victims of household burglary or having items stolen from their vehicles.”