Nearly 20 years of plummeting crime in the region appear to be over after Northumbria Police reported a rise in crimes.
The force had enjoyed 18 consecutive years of dropping figures but the latest statistics released by the Home Office show that annual offences increased by around 1% between September 2012 and September 2013.
Murders in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland increased dramatically from 12 to 21, an increase of 75% and huuse burglaries were also up by 7.6% to 3,411 offences. Violent crime crept up with offences causing injury increasing by 1.4% and violence without injury by 9.6%
Northumbria Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman and Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird have released a joint statement in response to the figures, saying the force was now working to address the areas in which crime has risen.
“The Home Office figures published are for a 12-month period to the end of September 2013, and are therefore nearly four months old.
“They show that in that period there was a marginal increase in crime of 1% across the Northumbria force area,” they said. “This has to be viewed against 18 consecutive years of crime reduction which in the last 10 years has seen a 60% reduction in crime.
“We are continuing to experience rises in some categories of acquisitive crime such as burglary, which clearly is a priority for us as well as concentrations of shoplifting with evidence of an increase in first-time female offenders and there is some growth in low level violence.
“We have responded in a targeted way and will continue to do so, with confidence.”
Last October Mrs Baird said she feared crime was starting to rise as people in the North east struggled to cope with increased living costs. She said there was a rise in what she would class as ‘poverty related crimes’, because people were stealing the sort of things they used to be able to afford to buy.
The crime rise also comes just weeks after Northumbria Police announced that it would have to lose 200 officers’ posts in order to slash another £46m from its budget over the next three years due to crippling cuts to funding it receives from central Government.
Deputy Chief Cons Ashman and Mrs Baird however said that the Northumbria Police force area still remains one of the safest parts of the country to live in. Durham saw a fall in crime in the period of the crime figures but has since seen a small increase.
Deputy Chief Constable Michael Banks said: “The crime figures that have been released today are a snapshot in time (September 2012 – September 2013) where we were showing a reduction in crime levels which we were delighted with.
“We are now four months on and the picture has changed and we are experiencing some increases in crime.
However we still have one of the lowest crime rates in the country.”