Crawley has seen a spike in serious sexual offences in the past year, police figures have revealed.
Domestic abuse crimes offences were up 19.6 per cent in 2015/16, ‘violence against the person’ rose by 22.3 per cent, hate crimes increased by 11.1 per cent, and there was also an increase of 19.6 per cent in domestic abuse cases.
Serious sexual offences were up by 22.1 per cent while sexual offences increased by 10.3 per cent in 2015/16.
Total crime in the town rose by 3.3 per cent, the equivalent of less than one extra crime per day compared to the previous year, according to figures in Safer Crawley Partnership’s 2015-16 Annual Review.
This is due to be discussed by Crawley Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission on Monday September 5.
The review also shows a steep fall in the number of robberies (21.8 per cent), domestic burglaries (15.8 per cent), other burglaries (30.2 per cent), thefts of/or from vehicles (11.4 per cent), and controlled drug-trafficking offences (40.3 per cent).
Shoplifting rose by 6.7 per cent as did criminal damage by 2.2 per cent.
While the number of total crimes has increased, the report explains that this is on a downward trend, as 14,569 offences were committed in Crawley in 2005/6, compared to just 9,443 ten years later.
Chief Inspector Dave Padwick, district commander for Crawley, said: “Looking at these figures I am really encouraged by subsequent reductions in burglaries, theft from cars and robberies.
“Crawley Police have been working hard to target organised criminals who deal drugs and commit violent crimes.
“We launched the ongoing ‘Operation Enforcer’ earlier this year which has seen a significant number of arrests and our multi-partnership approach means we are working closer than ever with the local community.
“The increase in reported violent crime shows there is still much work to do, however statistics do not always tell the whole story.
“The increase in reported sex related offences for example is a combination of ‘sexting’ type offences and historic sex offences.
“I would also stress that an increase in reported crime often indicates a greater trust that victims have in contacting us.
“There is much work still to be done, but I make no apologies for our relentless pursuit of criminals as they bring so much misery to our neighbourhoods.”
According to the review the priorities for 2016/17 for the Safer Crawley Partnership would be serious and organised crime, the street community including homelessness, begging and the street drinking, and protecting vulnerable individuals ranging from victims of scams and fraud to those at risk of honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation or radicalisation.
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