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Quarterly crime statistics released

22 January 2009

The figures released today update the national crime statistics to September 2008, and show that crime held steady last year compared to the year before.

The statistics, based on British Crime Survey (BCS) interviews and police records, show that the number of crimes recorded by police fell by 3% during the third quarter of 2008, compared to the same period in 2007.

BCS interviews found that the risk of being a victim (23%) held steady compared to the previous year.

The British Crime Survey is believed to be the more reliable measure of trends in crime, as it has a consistent methodology, and is unaffected by changes in reporting by police, or by recording practices which can vary among forces.

Read the full quarterly report on the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website.

Key figures

BCS figures found that the violent crime held steady, while police recorded violence against a person fell by 6%. There were also falls in police recorded sexual offences (down 7%), and robbery (down 3%), although robberies involving knives or sharp instruments increased by 18%.

Provisional figures in the report also show a 29% fall in firearms offences.

The BCS figures found that from September 2007 to September 2008:

  • domestic burglary rates remained stable
  • vandalism rates remained stable
  • vehicle-related thefts fell by 10%
  • thefts from people, and home burglary rates also held steady

Drug offences increased by 9%, and fraud and forgery reports increased by 16%, likely as a result of changes in the way cheque and card fraud are recorded.

Big falls in crime over the last 12 years

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the figures showed that overall crime is stable, and the risk of becoming a victim remains historically low.

Since 1997, crime has fallen by 39% and violent crime reports have decreased by 40%.

'I welcome the figures which show that overall recorded violent crime is down 6% – more than 15,000 fewer violent crimes - and I congratulate the police for their major role in delivering this. They have also recorded falls in robbery, gun crime and vehicle crime.  But we know there is more work to do - with particular crime types, and in particular areas. 

Keeping people safe in hard times

She pointed to a 55% fall in burglary reports since 1997 as a success story.

'That means we know what works, and that’s why in the next fortnight I'll be holding a summit with the police and partners, like Neighbourhood Watch (new window), Age Concern (new window) and DIY stores, to make sure we are all doing our bit to keep burglary and other thefts down, and to come up with practical measures that offer real help to people.

'There will be a small minority of criminals who think they can take advantage in tough times. Let me tell them now, they can’t and they won’t.'   

She said the government will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with police, whom, she pointed out, the Association of Chief Police Officers (new window) said have never been in a better position to fight crime.

'The service is bigger, better and stronger than ever before.'

Read the Home Secretary's full statement. (new window)

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