Essex: Crime increasing across county

CRIME in Essex is on the rise, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Out of all nine crime categories, seven have increased in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

The biggest change was in the number of sexual offences reported to police, with a 7 per cent jump this year and totalling 1,539.

The number of thefts reported also climbed by 6pc, while fraud and burglary are both up by 5pc. Reported violence against a person, which includes murder, was up by 3pc.

Criminal damage incidents and drug offences are the only categories to see falls of 10% and 9% respectively. But overall, crimes were up by around 2pc across Essex.

In neighbouring counties, crimes had fallen. In Suffolk and Norfolk, they were down by 2pc and in Cambridgeshire there was a 9pc drop.

Essex Police stressed that overall, crimes in Essex still remain below the national average per 1,000 population.

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They also said that the way in which domestic abuse is recorded has changed in the last year, accounting for the rise in the overall crime percentage.

Deputy chief constable Derek Benson, of Essex Police, said: “We were disappointed to be seeing a growth in crime for the first time in a number of years. However, we know that much of this is directly linked to a change in recording practice.

“Since the time these figures were compiled, we have reviewed this trend and currently our April to June comparison with the same period last year shows 5.6pc fewer crimes.”

A force spokesman added: “All 11 crime categories in the report showed the number of crimes in Essex lower per head of population when compared with the average for the whole of England and Wales.

“Especially pleasing is the fact that there was a 9.6pc reduction in incidents of criminal damage and that drug offences are down by 9pc.

“These figures do show a 1.6pc increase in all crime, the first time Essex has seen an increase for this period for a number of years.

“This is directly related to more robust recording of the investigation and dealing with incidents of domestic abuse. This has led to an increase in the number of recorded incidents of domestic abuse and accounts for a significant part of the overall crime recording increase.”