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Crime is on the increase: ‘don’t panic’, insists Police Commissioner

Crime is on the increase: ‘don’t panic’, insists Police Commissioner

🕔11.Jun 2013

crimeWest Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones has issued a ‘don’t panic’ plea after the first increase in recorded crime in recent years.

Mr Jones warned the number of offences might rise further as a result of high unemployment and increased levels of poverty, but added that the position was “not disastrous”.

The commissioner, a former Labour councillor in Wolverhampton, was addressing a meeting of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board.

He said: “There are a few worrying signs that we need to monitor carefully. But we must put this in the context of a spectacular fall in crime in recent years.

“This does suggest that the historic pattern of events is starting to reassert itself. When there is high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty then you generally see an increase in burglary and shoplifting.

“Having held the tide back, the tide may now be turning. There are warning signs.

“But it is by no means a disastrous position. All our comparator forces are facing exactly the same position and there is no need for panic.

“What we need to do is make sure this does not become a trend or it could have significant implications for our communities.”

Mr Jones has warned that public spending cuts imposed on the force, which have resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 police jobs, are likely to make it more difficult to combat crime in future.

Although overall crime rose by about one per cent last year, incidents of burglary, violence with injury and shoplifting were up more sharply.

Burglary in north Birmingham and Solihull was up by 36 and 64 per cent, but fell by 27 per cent in Wolverhampton.

Detection rates for burglary and robbery are up, but most crimes are never solved.

Only 11 per cent of burglaries are solved, and 24 per cent of robberies.

Fewer than six per cent of vehicle crimes are solved.

The increase in offences  brings to an end almost 20 years of falling crime, and the trend in the West Midlands is reflected across much of the rest of the country.

A major reason behind the increase in shoplifting is likely to be the way stores place high-value goods such as iPads and mobile phones within easy reach of customers, according to Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson.

“It’s easier to rob a store than it is to get into someone’s house,” Mr Thompson said.

Police chiefs are to hold talks with national retailers in an attempt to improve security in Birmingham stores.

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