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Lowest number of homicides since 1983

Released: 19 July 2012 Download PDF

Overall crime measured by the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, formerly the British Crime Survey) was unchanged from the previous year, according to the latest figures published today by ONS.

However, the provisional number of homicides (550) recorded by the police in 2011/12 dropped by 14 per cent to the lowest level since 1983 (also 550).

Crimes recorded by the police fell by 4 per cent in 2011/12, continuing the downward trend seen in recent years. Just under 4 million offences were recorded by the police, the lowest since 2002/03. Overall police recorded violent crime in England and Wales dropped by 7 per cent (from 822,000 offences in 2010/11 to 763,000 offences in 2011/12) and robberies by 2 per cent.

While burglary and vehicle theft recorded by the police also fell, other theft offences have risen by 2 per cent, following a 4 per cent rise the previous year. This was driven by increases in theft of unattended property (including personal property and commercial property such as metal), thefts from the person (such as pickpocketing), bicycle theft and shoplifting.

While the latest figures from the CSEW show no change in overall levels of acquisitive crime, this should be viewed in the context of large reductions since the mid 1990s. The latest estimates indicate that five in every 100 vehicle-owning households were victims of vehicle-related theft compared with 20 in 100 in 1995.

Background notes

  1. To read the full statistical Bulletin, see:
  2. The crime statistics for England and Wales presents the most recent data from two different sources: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (previously known as the British Crime Survey), and police recorded crime.
  3. The CSEW is a large nationally representative survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a more reliable measure of trends in crime than police recorded crime statistics, as it has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity. The survey does not aim to provide an absolute count of crime in England and Wales, but to provide robust trends for the crime types and population it covers. The CSEW does not cover all offences, with homicide and drug offences being notable exclusions. A separate component of the crime survey measures crimes committed against 10 to 15 year olds and this release incorporates statistics on the victimisation of these children.
  4. Recorded crime figures in this release relate to crimes recorded by the police in the financial year 2011/12. As in previous years, recorded crime figures remain subject to change as forces continue to submit further data. In particular, the homicide figures presented here are based on homicides currently recorded by the police as at 13 June 2012. A more detailed statistical return for each recorded homicide is used to populate a database called the Homicide Index which is continually being updated with revised information from the police as investigations continue and as cases are heard by the courts. Final figures based on the 2011/12 Homicide Index with full analysis will be published in a separate ‘Focus On Violent Crime’ publication to be released in January 2013.
  5. The police recorded offence of homicide includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Robbery is an offence of theft (or attempted theft) involving violence or the threat of violence.
  6. Responsibility for the publication of the crime statistics for England and Wales moved from the Home Office to ONS on 1 April 2012. The Home Office retained responsibility for the publication of other statistics relating to the police such as arrests, detections and police powers. Also released today the Home Office are the latest detections statistics for England and Wales:
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  9. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media office.
  10. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2012.


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