'Harmful' offences rise, but total crime down in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 07:40 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:47 27 February 2018

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'Harmful' crimes like burglary, possession of weapons and violent offences are on the rise in North Somerset, latest figures have revealed.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown an increase in some of the most hard-hitting offences in the district in the 12 months preceding September compared to the previous year, though overall crime declined marginally.

North Somerset saw a 19 per cent increase in domestic burglaries to 684 incidents over the 12-month period, but the number of non-domestic burglaries has plummeted by half to 387.

Public order offences rose by seven per cent, with 1,790 recorded. Changes in classification of antisocial behaviour, which means more incidents are being recorded as crimes, has been offered as a potential explanation by the ONS.

The largest increase was seen in possession of weapons offences, which grew by 58 per cent to 111.

The number of violent offences resulting in injury increased by one per cent to 1,303. Violence which did not result in an injury grew by seven per cent to 3,371.

North Somerset enjoyed a two per cent decline in total crime, with 14,607 incidents recorded.

The number of drug offences declined significantly by 20 per cent to 332.

Incidents of shoplifting, robbery, criminal damage, arson and theft were also down on the previous year respectively.

One murder was recorded in North Somerset in the period, the first for three years.

The Times asked Avon and Somerset Constabulary to comment on the figures, but it declined to offer its perspective on the trends or its programmes which have been successful in reducing offences.

ONS statistics analyst Mark Bangs commented on the report, which has found crime is declining across the country but suggests ‘harmful’, violent offences are becoming more common.

He said: “These latest figures indicate levels of crime have continued to fall compared with the previous year, but this picture varied across different types of crime and not all offence types showed falls.

“While overall levels of violent crime were not increasing, there is evidence of rises having occurred in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories such as knife and gun crime.”

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